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Hamilton: Mercedes "not talking BS" about Ferrari deficit

16 March 2019

Upon being asked if he would take a dip in the Albert Park Lake if he won the race making him the first, Daniel reminded everyone that Renault is a bit away from competing against the big 3 just yet, however he remained optimistic about the developments and said the auto isnt very far away from a win or two given the right circumstances. Teams tried to celebrate his life rather than mourn his death with tributes pouring in from every corner ahead of the beginning of the new season.

In between the practice sessions, FIA President Jean Todt and Formula 1 chairman Chase Carey attended a news conference which started with a minute of silence in memory of F1 race director Charlie Whiting, who died in Melbourne early Thursday from a pulmonary embolism.

The start of any new season inevitably leads to questions about how the following eight months will pan out. The action is back this weekend.

Hamilton has not won in Melbourne since 2015 and played down the importance of winning the season-opener, saying: "It's a long season, so I don't particularly feel it's the most important thing".

Ferrari was off the pace the second time around, with two-time defending Australian GP champion Vettel in fifth spot and Leclerc sliding backward into the track-side grass after losing control with only minutes remaining and recording the ninth-fastest lap.

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But Vettel added he was confident Ferrari could add performance through the rest of the weekend.

Much had been made of his insistence after pre-season testing in Barcelona that Ferrari were much faster, but he quickly put that fallacy to bed as he angles for an 84th pole position.

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

Having switched from Renault power to a Honda engine for 2019, Horner had previously said the move could be the "missing ingredient" for Red Bull after frustrations with their former supplier.

Home hope Daniel Ricciardo had an underwhelming debut with Renault, clocking only the 17th fastest time.

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"None of us made mistakes, that counts for a lot - keeping the auto in one piece - and we'll just have to make sure we do the same again tomorrow". Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia.

Alex Albon was 17th, one place behind the second Racing Point of Sergio Perez, and followed up his FP1 crash with a run through the gravel mid-season then a similar spin to Giovinazzi's late on.

Ricciardo had already been seeing red before a vehicle had taken to the track at the Formula 1 season opener.

Kubica remarked ruefully that it would probably not help Williams much.

You will have seen plenty of Abiteboul if you've watched the first few episodes of the Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive.

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Sebastian Vettel believes Mercedes may have been playing games in winter testing after the world champions dominated the opening day of F1 2019.

Hamilton: Mercedes