I can't trust him just yet - especially at the same price as the two favorites. 'We had our weaknesses last year here and there and we obviously try to fix those and do much better this year.
The team has also tweaked its driver line-up for the first time since 2014 as Charles Leclerc partners Vettel in just his second season in Formula 1. "It was said back at the factory and repeated [in a team meeting] today and that's how I like it".
"I got one last summer, so now it's 11 months old", says Bottas to a small group of written media, having already been dragged away from the puppies after only semi-jokingly asking their handler whether they ship to Europe. 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.
Meanwhile Red Bull, powered by new Honda engines, have high hopes that Max Verstappen, who finished fourth in the drivers' standings past year, can crash the Hamilton-Vettel party. "I have a lot to learn but I will push for that".
"I hope to enjoy the weekend and that everything will run smoothly without any big issues so I can concentrate on my driving and discover a new Formula 1", said Kubica. But there are reasons for optimism with an F1 favorite returning to racing action alongside his rookie F2 champion teammate.
Hamilton has appeared relaxed in Melbourne in the countdown to the Australian Grand Prix Credit GETTY IMAGES
It will also be an emotional weekend for Pole Robert Kubica, who reboots his F1 career with the struggling Williams team eight years after being seriously injured in a rally auto accident. "This year we are more prepared, our vehicle seems to work fine".
This season will see the 1,000th grand prix in Formula One history - round three in Shanghai in April. "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 past year".
There have been 13 Australian F1 drivers since 1950 and two world champions - Jack Brabham and Alan Jones. This put paid to his dreams of racing in Formula One for a long time. It will be a very proud and extremely surreal moment for me standing on the starting grid with everybody preparing for the race, and I am really looking forward to the whole experience. If you go with both, if either wins, you make a small profit.
"I'm excited to see the pecking order", said Daniel Ricciardo ahead of his debut for Renault.
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