Published: Fri, March 31, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

'Finally we can have an actual F1 race' declares Lewis Hamilton

Ferrari had not won in Melbourne since Kimi Raikkonen's 2007 victory and it was Vettel's second triumph in Australia after winning the 2011 race with Red Bull.

"I wish we could race a lot closer in the cars that we have today, but still I think the fact that we are similar pace-wise, it's going to be a very, very hard slog this season. I have and I am going to continue to work because there is going to be some really tough races this year".

Ferrari were the only team who were able to match Mercedes for pace during pre-season testing.

A string of new regulations has radically changed the aesthetics of the cars, which while speeds are at record-breaking levels overtaking is expected to become more hard.

Rivalries recommence at the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 9. Despite having position on the track, Hamilton chose to pit early after quickly tearing through his tires and in a bid to trigger a pit stop from Ferrari for Vettel. Having a true rival for Mercedes, especially one with such a rich history and emphatic fan base, will help get fans more excited about F1, which has in recent years been criticized for being boring.

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The German emerged just in front of the pair, saw off Verstappen's attack into Turn 3 and built a lead of six seconds by the time the Dutchman entered the pits two laps later, releasing Hamilton.

"I believe that these tyres have a very narrow window and you have to keep them in that window in order to perform well", Wolff said when asked why Hamilton was struggling for performance on the ultra-softs. "It's going to be physically and mentally demanding but as Sebastian said, racing the best is what Formula One is all about". "I came in and I was a bit unfortunate as I lost some time behind a Williams".

In what could be viewed as a subtle barb at Rosberg, who watched Albert Park's season opener from his lounge in Monte Carlo, Hamilton concurred. "He's proven to be one of the quickest drivers on the grid", Vettel continued.

"To see us come here and be battling so closely for a win and missing out marginally, there's a lot of things to be incredibly proud of. We'll move forward. I'll wake up tomorrow and be motivated to get ready for China", Vettel added.

Vettel stalked Hamilton in the early stages before grabbing the lead when the three-time World champion was forced into an early pit stop.

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