Hamilton laps up crowd's cheers at F1 season launch party in Melbourne

Despite his huge experience the German admitted to being

Despite his huge experience the German admitted to being"a bit nervous ahead of the 2019 campaign

It's a massively long season, and always with some regulation changes like this year is going to be a lot about how much you can improve the auto, because the cars in Abu Dhabi are going to be so much quicker than this weekend.

Despite its slump in the second half of a year ago that cost Ferrari clinching both championships, Vettel believes it has every reason to be confident it will address its 2018 weaknesses and begin this season in a much stronger position. "So far, the spirit is right, the team is on track, the auto feels good so let's see how we start the year". "Hopefully going away from here we will be the hunted. 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".

He continued: "We'll obviously try to have a great, smooth weekend".

"I hope that this year we get to have a lot of fun".

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.

Mercedes may have won the last five constructors' titles in Formula One but Valtteri Bottas expects the Silver Arrows to be chasing rivals Ferrari in Melbourne this weekend.

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"I'm excited to see the pecking order", said Daniel Ricciardo ahead of his debut for Renault.

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

"In the second week, we had some new parts which seemed more exciting for our development".

"So far, it's been good and I was very happy by how everyone has been working together", said Max Verstappen.

"Our optimism is not unfounded", said Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko.

The first practice session of the year begins at 1am United Kingdom time on Friday morning, with Sunday's race, which will be exclusively live on Sky Sports F1, underway at 5.10am.

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