Hamilton wary of rivals


Lewis Hamilton clearly wary of Ferrari and Red Bull ahead of season opener.

Ever since pre-season testing, Lewis Hamilton has been insisting that Ferrari heads into the season opener as favourites, the Briton claiming that even though Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel set the fastest times, they were still "bluffing".

The fact that they visually and audibly lifted off on their quickest laps, suggests the Briton may have a point, and the radio silence from Maranello only adds to the anticipation.

Speaking at today's press conference however, Hamilton admitted that he is also intrigued by what Red Bull might have up its sleeve.

"I am very, very keen to see what Red Bull bring as they were quite far behind in testing compared to Ferrari," said the three-time champion. "I didn't see them bringing many upgrades you can see, so I assume they will bring some here and I'm excited to see what they do bring."

Turning his attention to Ferrari, Hamilton said: "Ferrari have been the quickest over the winter and I'd say they are the favourites.

"Sebastian is normally a lot more hyped," he added. "I can tell he's excited and trying to keep a lid on it."

At the other end of the platform, Sebastian Vettel allowed himself the briefest of smiles.

"Mercedes have been very strong and even if you change the rules if a team is strong they will build a strong car," said the Ferrari driver. "Looking at the performance of the cars, it was expected to be a big step up. And that's what we all said when we got out for the first time."

Asked if he thought he can win the title the German said: "It's March, come ask me in November."

Back to Hamilton, and the Briton admitted he relished the thought of a resurgent Ferrari.

"I have not had a lot of battles with Sebastian on track, and I would love that and the fans would too," he said.

"And for him to be up there, too, before his time is up," he continued, turning to Fernando Alonso. "I would love that. We haven't seen the best of Fernando."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Melbourne, here.

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Published: 23/03/2017
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