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Mercedes look to burst Ferrari’s bubble in Melbourne

14 March 2019

"I'm confident the vehicle will be better here [than in testing], but if it's enough, we'll find out".

After an ultra-impressive winter, Ferrari are expected to be the quickest team when the new season begins in Melbourne.

Despite its slump in the second half of previous year that cost Ferrari clinching both championships, Vettel believes it has every reason to be confident it will address its 2018 weaknesses and begin this season in a much stronger position.

But Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas countered: "As a team we've learned a lot from the package we had in testing and how we can optimise it better for the first race".

Mercedes AMG F1 2019 Barcelona Pre Season Test 2 Day 4 – Steve Etherington
Mercedes AMG F1 2019 Barcelona Pre Season Test 2 Day 4 – Steve Etherington

Formula 1 returns to the track for its 70th season, and this year promises to be one of the most eventful seasons ever.

"So far the spirit is right and the team is on track, the vehicle feels good, so let's see how we start here". "We have experience, it's no coincidence that we are world champions so we have to be diligent and stay balanced", added Hamilton, who has won twice in Melbourne, in 2008 and 2015.

Ferrari are displaying a calmness that will finally push them to glory this season, according to Ross Brawn.

The four-times champion will bid for a third successive win at Albert Park's season-opener, having foiled pole-sitter Hamilton amid a virtual safety vehicle deployment a year ago.

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"I believe that Mercedes will be very strong in Australia and I think that we would be completely wrong to believe that we are faster than them", he said.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says it is unrealistic to expect Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari this season.

Alfa Romeo, formerly Sauber, named Kimi Raikkonen to partner Antonio Giovinazzi in 2019 and the Swiss team are hopeful of being prominent in what will be an enthralling midfield battle.

The race also marks the fantastic comeback of Poland's Robert Kubica, who eight years ago partially severed his right arm in an accident that many believed would never see him driving a auto again, let alone a Formula One machine.

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In a new concept this year, a bonus point will be awarded for the fastest lap during the race should the driver finish inside the top 10.

The new regulations have changed the front and rear wings, aimed at making it easier for cars to get closer and overtake.

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Mercedes look to burst Ferrari’s bubble in Melbourne