"This is going to be the toughest battle yet ... their pace is very good at the moment", the Briton said after suggesting in preseason testing that Ferrari could be as much as half a second ahead.
Whilst the victor of the Australian Grand Prix doesn't always give away firm clues about who the champion teams and drivers will be come the end of the season, it does point to a certain hierarchy in what the likely running order will be.
The 2019 Formula 1 Rolex Grand Prix will get underway today in Melbourne, but not before Barossa Valley winemakers, St Hugos, become the official wine supplier of the race in Australia.
"I'm really pleased to kind of start a new page, knowing at this point of the year that anything is possible". I can't trust him just yet - especially at the same price as the two favorites. 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.
Since he last raced in 2010, a lot has changed in Formula One, so it will be a massive learning curve for the Polish driver.
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Still, they can make the season a successful one, should they manage to achieve a top four spot and qualify for the Champions League next term.
Daniel Ricciardo will also hope for better luck at his home race in the yellow and black of Renault, having missed a maiden podium in Melbourne with Red Bull a year ago when he was hit with a three-place grid penalty for a minor technical infringement. "Most of it is going to be up to me if I make it or not, and that's a good feeling".
Formula 1 is doing its part to modify the cars and the rules to encourage more contested racing and Westacott's corporation is investigating tweaks to the circuit. "We could draw some conclusions from testing but not much".
Hamilton will be looking to draw first blood in his battle against the Ferraris of Vettel and Leclerc in Australia, but could his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas emerge from a torrid - and winless - 2018 and put the pressure on the reigning champion?
Red Bull, who have switched to Honda power, are thought to be in close proximity to Mercedes while Alfa Romeo and Haas may well challenge Renault to be the "best of the rest". It matters who improves the most. "A lot of my friends have said they really like the colors of our vehicle and everybody says it looks great watching trackside". Even without any upgrades, just getting the auto nicer to drive, better balanced and more stable, there will be performance from that. Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc will drive for Ferrari this year. Perhaps a little puppy love may well go a long way to proving his critics wrong...