Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes have 'work to do' as Ferrari threaten

Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes have 'work to do' as Ferrari threaten

Asked about the importance of winning the first race, Hamilton said: "It's a long, long season so I don't particularly feel it is the most important thing, it is about finishing races and getting as many points as you can but I am not really one for needing to stamp authority".

Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief Andrew Westacott has no plans to give up the coveted position as season opener and says the 4.10pm race start time works well with global television audiences. We've done some sim work on the set-up already so I'm feeling pretty well prepared. After a winter trying to forget the 2018 season, Bottas said he returns to racing this year with a new mindset.

"So far, it's been good and I was very happy by how everyone has been working together", said Max Verstappen.

"It's something I've kind of also realised over the past years and especially last year that I definitely only have one career and I don't want to be in the situation that after the season where I should have done this or that".

He added: "We are definitely in the fight and we know we have a strong team". There were regulation changes in 2017 that some thought might slow them down, but they powered right through them. "I have a lot to learn but I will push for that". When quizzed around the prestige and reputation of the Australian Grand Prix, once again it is Victorians who are most positive about the impact of the event.

Williams last won around the streets of Albert Park back in 1996 and a repeat of that famous Hill victory is certainly not on the agenda.

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Speaking to Crash.net, Robert Kubica mused, "It will be a very emotional grand prix". Hamilton is now the most dominant driver in the sport racing for the most dominant team.

He continued: "We'll obviously try to have a great, smooth weekend. We've been trying to plan with the team all my sponsor events a bit more in advance so I can plan my calendar a bit more around it, all the details in terms of travel, logistics, hotels, everything to help my wellbeing and performance, same thing with the training we try again to improve from a year ago".

For F1 new boy George Russell, there is also no shortage of excitement and hype for a driver that many predict to be a future world champion.

Formula One's governing body, the FIA, is opposed to any advertising or sponsoring of cigarettes or tobacco, as are a number of countries staging races.

"I'm looking forward to continuing the dialogue to make sure that it stays in Melbourne ... my view is it's certainly not going to go across the border into New South Wales".

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