Mercedes-AMG Petronas’ quest for a sixth consecutive championship double truly gets underway this weekend in Melbourne when Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and the defending champions take on the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix.
“It’s finally time to go racing again,” Team Principal Toto Wolff said. “Last year, we had to give it absolutely everything to come out on top. From what we have learned so far, this year will be even tougher. It will push us to our limits – and that’s an exciting prospect for every single one of us.”
Last season, Hamilton clinched his fifth Drivers’ Championship in Mexico, one race before Mercedes locked up the Constructors’ title at the penultimate grand prix of the year in Brazil.
Hamilton started on the pole in Melbourne to kick off that 2018 campaign, ultimately finishing the season opener in second. The 34-year-old has two wins and eight podium finishes in 12 starts at the Australian Grand Prix, while Bottas has reached the podium once in five tries.
“Judging from the performance in Barcelona, it looks like we will have a proper fight on our hands in Melbourne,” Wolff said. “But an F1 season is not just about who comes out of the blocks quickest; under new regulations like we have this year, it is about who is able to adapt best to the new rules and the new tires and all the challenges that we will have to master during the year.
“The most adaptable and agile team will come out on top this season. We have shown in the past that we are fast and flexible and that we can handle every curve ball thrown at us. We’re ready for the fight and look forward to the crazy roller-coaster of a new F1 season.”