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Images from Friday at the 2017 Australian Formula One Grand Prix

F1: Fast and mean for 2017 Silver Arrows ready double-title defence

Mar 242017

It seems like only last week that Nico Rosberg was winning the Formula One World Championship title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but the new season will burst into action this Sunday. Melbourne's Albert Park will host the 2017 curtain-raiser for the double-defence for the MERCEDES AMG Petronas team of their Drivers' and Constructors' Championship titles.

So what's new for 2107? A new driver for one, as Nico's shock decision to retire after winning the world crown means Valtteri Bottas has been signed up as his replacement. The Finnish ace, who joined from Williams, has wasted no time impressing and has worked hard to get up to speed in time for the start of the new season.

This season will also feature a new set of rules, meaning the cars are faster, wider and meaner. The cars look more aggressive and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Team’s W08 EQ Power+ is on to smash some lap times this season as these cars are expected to be almost five seconds quicker than at the same stage 12 months ago.

"No team has won back to back with rule regulation changes," Lewis told us, "so that is our goal as a team. We are here to win and do something that no one else has done. Whether or not we are in this right place at this moment in the season we will find out but I have every belief in the team that we can do that."


Lewis is also looking forward to locking horns with the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's driver pairing of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. "I see Ferrari being the quickest at the moment and they will definitely be the favourite,” continued Lewis.


"It is interesting to see Sebastian, he is usually a lot more hyped and I can tell he is excited and trying to keep a lid on it. Ferrari's pace was obviously great in testing. I am very keen to see what Red Bull can bring too.

"Having more teams and more drivers at the front fighting for wins is what racing is all about so I am hoping that is the case. Every year your goal is to beat everyone and the more of a fight you have the more satisfying it is when you are victorious. We are up for a challenge, up for a fight and that is what I have prepared for."

"I feel well prepared," said Valtteri. "I feel definitely ready to race. I really think we made the most out of the short period of time I had to prepare with the team and get into everything perfectly.


"It's been a massive learning curve for me, since mid-January until today and that is still going to continue but I felt testing was good. Every single time I was in the car I felt better and better and I'm sure that is just going to continue and I'm feeling more and more part of the team so happy to be here racing.


"I always set my targets very high so from the first race, this race onwards, immediately, I want to perform where the car can be. That is my target. Of course I always go day by day and step by step but I want to start at a very high level and keep getting better."