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

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has won four of those crowns and heads into the new season as a double-defending champion.

The Brit finished 88 points clear of Vettel come the end of the year as Mercedes claimed both titles for a sixth consecutive season to continue their dominance of the sport's hybrid engine era.

However, Bottas is not convinced the German team have the package to push Ferrari at the Australian Grand Prix after mixed fortunes in pre-season testing.

Yet while the Italian constructors are expected to start the season strongly, Vettel admits he has some nerves as he looks to draw level with Hamilton on five world titles. Just after the test I went back, and Toto rallied the troops and we all sat together and it's really impressive to see so many people so passionate about their jobs and so passionate about racing and wanting to do a better job and always wanting to improve.

"We had some issues with the auto to fix".

"However, it's hard to know what everyone is doing, naturally we won't fully know until we get out in the vehicle tomorrow and come qualifying you start to get a better picture". Our vehicle seems to work fine, there are no problems at this stage.

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

Speaking ahead of this weekend's season opener in Melbourne, the Briton continues to insist that his Maranello rivals have the edge.

"Naturally after a test you always improve on the next days, the auto gets older and older throughout the test".

All 20 drivers and their team bosses were met by thousands of supporters at the inaugural season launch event in Federation Square on Wednesday.

'For sure it's a new challenge, ' said Vettel.

"Everyone takes a step after testing".

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.

"CHiQ is a high quality, innovative brand with a global footprint, which makes the partnership with the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019 an ideal fit". Qualifying is then on Saturday morning at 6am, while Sunday's race begins at 5.10am.

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