Sport Ricciardo meets fans ahead of Aussie F1 Grand Prix

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Across the paddock Ferrari's pre-season pace has been the talk of the town, with the prancing horse seemingly the team to beat ahead of lights out in Melbourne on Sunday, though testing is not always the be-all and end-all of a teams' destiny. He was on target to win at the Russian Grand Prix towards the end of the year, but with Hamilton fighting Sebastian Vettel for the title, Mercedes told him to move over and let his teammate take the lead.

"The Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix is a spectacle of colour, sound and excitement, and our partnership with CHiQ enables us to deliver all the action to our hospitality guests and event patrons in crystal clear, high definition", said Andrew Westacott, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.

Last season we saw Ferrari start off with a bang and they kept up with the tempo.

But Hamilton swatted aside suggestions that Mercedes is trying to play down its expectations.

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1 - Ferrari driver Vettel is one win away from equalling Schumacher as the driver with the most wins (four) and most back-to-back victories (3 - 2000-02) at the AusGP.

"Over the winter some things have been different, like with my coach again we looked through the travel plan and everything, all the details that we think is going to be best for my performance, like where I am between races, where do I fly, when do I fly. So far the atmosphere is good, the spirit is right within the team and we will try to carry that into the season". 'This is going to be the toughest battle yet, ' he claimed.

The 2019 Formula One season begins in Melbourne as Vettel seeks to put last year's disappointment behind him.

Vettel is keen on having some fun.

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A new Honda-Red Bull alliance could reward a more mature Max Verstappen, now in his fifth season but still only 21, while former partners Renault have taken smiling Australian Daniel Ricciardo with them.

"In terms of the team, we've got so many incredible people within the team, and the energy.it's inspiring to see so many people so pumped, pulling together".

"I feel Melbourne is the ideal place to start the championship", said the 31-year-old German, now in his fifth season with the glamour team.

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