Scuderia Ferrari reveals special SF90 Melbourne livery

Scuderia Ferrari reveals special SF90 Melbourne livery

Scuderia Ferrari reveals special SF90 Melbourne livery

F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has warned Mercedes are on the backfoot when they start their title defence in this weekend's season-opening Australian GP.

"Last year, we had to give it absolutely everything to come out on top".

"Judging from the performance in Barcelona (testing), it looks like we will have a proper fight on our hands in Melbourne". "From what we have learned so far, this year will be even tougher", he added. "Fun is to win a lot of races and then ultimately you are fighting for the championship", said the 31-year-old, who won four successive world championships at Red Bull from 2010-2013.

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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.

Over the winter break the Scuderia replaced Maurizio Arrivabene with Mattia Binotto taking the role of technical director, while promoting and swapping Charles Leclerc, after an impressive season with Sauber (now Alfa Romeo), with Kimi Raikkonen.

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? Amid the presence of Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc joining Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, and Pierre Gasly linking up with Max Verstappen at Red Bull, Bottas has appeared to be nearly the forgotten man heading into 2019. "Vettel and Ferrari are looking to bounce back from a disappointing season past year and the German said they are hoping to 'turn the page".

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Relatives of 25 of the victims had been contacted, Macharia said, and taking care of their welfare was of utmost importance. GebreMariam said they have not yet determined the cause of the crash. "They are in shock like we are".

The track is partially made up of public roads that wind through Albert Park and with the high-speed chicane in turn 11 and 12, this will be testing for the drivers who will need to get to grips with the immediate change of direction very quickly to avoid the nearby gravel trap. Obviously it will be the first time this season when every team and every cars are maxing out their potential.

Bottas says the key to his new approach will be being more guarded with his time to ensure he is in the best possible position at the start of each race weekend to maximise results. "I'm curious to see how it goes at that time".

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 past year when he was hit with a three-place grid penalty for a minor technical infringement.

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At a bumpy street circuit where overtaking has been hard, F1 bosses will hope the introduction of new rules can inject spice. So whoever is quickest this weekend, it doesn't really matter as long as it's close.

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