QUIZ: Season-opening Formula 1 Grand Prix winners

Mercedes 0.8s clear in FP2 in Melbourne	
				Image by Glenn Dunbar  LAT

Mercedes 0.8s clear in FP2 in Melbourne Image by Glenn Dunbar LAT

Duncraig's Daniel Ricciardo has spent the morning with the fans ahead of this weekend's racing in Melbourne and a defence of the Australian F1 Grand Prix remaining as the season opener.

The indications from pre-season testing suggest Ferrari have a performance advantage over Mercedes.

Having won 11 of 21 races last season, another F1 title would put Hamilton one shy of Michael Schumacher's record of seven and stir the debate about the greatest racer of all time.

"We never sit still so we've got to evolve our track", Westacott said.

Last season we saw Ferrari start off with a bang and they kept up with the tempo.

Asked if Ferrari are in a better situation now than they were 12 months ago, the 31-year-old told a press conference: "Yeah quite frankly because last year's winter testing didn't go well for us. I'm confident the vehicle will be better here [than in testing], but if it's enough, we'll find out".

"This is going to be the toughest battle yet".

Ferrari are displaying a calmness that will finally push them to glory this season, according to Ross Brawn. "We have experience, it's no coincidence that we are world champions so we have to be diligent and stay balanced", said Hamilton, who has won twice in Melbourne.

While Mercedes have retained Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton's partner this year, one of only two unchanged driver line-ups, Vettel has a new teammate in Charles Leclerc who shifted from Sauber - now branded Alfa Romeo - in a swap for Kimi Raikkonen.

The new season boasts a host of driver changes throughout the grid and only two of the ten teams have relied upon last seasons drivers to deliver the goods.

Vettel is a victor and having to settle for second in the drivers and constructors championship previous year was tough to take.

"I feel Melbourne is the ideal place to start the championship", said the 31-year-old German, now in his fifth season with the glamour team. "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".

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