Lewis Hamilton is expecting a “tight” Australian Grand Prix after Sebastian Vettel split the two Mercedes drivers in qualifying.
While Hamilton’s team Mercedes has been able to keep his advantage amid a major rules change, Ferrari have significantly closed the gap to the Silver Arrow.
On Saturday, Vettel qualified within three tenths of Hamilton, denying a front row-lockout for Mercedes.
Having seen Ferrari’s pre-season form carry on to the first race weekend of the year, Hamilton is prepared for a Mercedes vs Ferrari battle in Melbourne.
"As you can see it is close between us [and Ferrari] so I think it is going to be a tight race this year. I will make sure that I get a good night's sleep and come back tomorrow stronger than ever,” he said.
"We have done a lot of work [on our race starts] over winter, particular knowing that the rules have changed this year. We feel we have prepared as best we possibly can."
Despite a closer challenge from Ferrari, Hamilton was full of praise of what his own team has managed over the winter, claiming the W08 is the best car he’s ever driven.
"It is incredible, the best I have ever experienced here," said Hamilton. "The grip is fantastic, you can really push into these corners. I have not had the car skating around on low grip tyres like we have had in the past.
"I am incredibly proud of my team. This rule change has been huge and such a massive challenge for everyone and the guys have just worked so hard to make this card what it is today."
by Rachit Thukral