Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes not BS-ing over position

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'So far, the spirit is right, the team is on track, the auto feels good so let's see how we start the year.' Hamilton, meanwhile, is braced for a scrap. The Pole has confessed that he is not a 100% ready for his F1 return, 20% at best, to say the least. We have experience, it's no coincidence that we are world champions so we have to be diligent and stay balanced.' He added: 'But as a driver for sure I have to figure out how can I pull more out, which I don't have the current answer for'.

Earlier this year, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto said that Vettel would be given priority over Leclerc in the early part of the season, if certain situations warranted such a decision.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth in the second Mercedes, with his session including running off the road at the penultimate corner.

"I hope that this year we get to have a lot of fun".

With 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen having switched to Alfa Romeo, the team formerly known as Sauber, Vettel's new partnership with highly-rated Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc will be under scrutiny.

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 auto deployment past year.

Lewis Hamilton is defending a title he won in style in 2018 but Sebastian Vettel is the early favourite.

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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 will be entering their new Honda era with Dutch hopeful Max Verstappen and Frenchman Pierre Gasly at the helm.

Toro Rosso's Alexander Albon spun and hit the wall during Practice 1, leading to the session being red flagged.

Based on previous years, it is expected that Ferrari will also introduce new parts to the auto this weekend.

He gets his opportunity at Williams, which finished last in the constructors' championship in 2018.

Formula One is changing its scoring system to award a point to the driver who sets the fastest race lap. A victor now gets 25 points with 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and one for the subsequent places.

The new logo honours the establishment of Scuderia Ferrari in 1929 by Enzo Ferrari and his associates, the team said.