Hamilton: Mercedes ‘not miles off’ Red Bull’s pace

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Melbourne, 2013In the round-up: Hamilton says Mercedes have Red Bull in their sights.

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F1: Lewis Hamilton ‘massively excited’ after Mercedes out-pace McLaren in Australia (The Independent)

“Clearly the Red Bull is massively quick. It always is. They have obviously been sand-bagging the whole time in winter as expected, and all of a sudden they’ve pulled out a load of time. But I don’t feel we’re miles away.”

Friday times not important – Vettel (ESPN)

“We know a little bit more than yesterday, that’s for sure, but I think we have to be aware of the fact that conditions can change. A couple of degrees make a massive difference with these tyres so for today I think we are very happy but tomorrow could be another day so I think there’s room for improvement and we need to keep our eyes open and see what happens.”

Jenson Button: “It?s going to be a long night…” (Adam Cooper)

“The ride is so important with an F1 car, if the car is moving around a lot, the downforce is not necessarily working in the correct manner. We?ve got to get the ride sorted.”

Raikkonen quietly confident as Lotus car behaves (Reuters)

“I think the car should be better (than last year). “We had some issues in the wet last year, but hopefully those are behind us.”

Pastor: Williams lacking pace (Sky)

“I think we are far away from the top guys today. We need to work very hard to understand our problems. They are very clear, we just need to work hard to sort it.”

Lewis Hamilton makes his debut as a BBC Sport columnist (BBC)

“People think I hang around with celebrities all the time, but that’s not true at all. I have a girlfriend, Nicole Scherzinger, who is a celebrity, but you don’t choose who you fall in love with. I just happened to meet her at an event I was at and sparks went flying.”

Interview – McLaren?s Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren)

“Q: So we won?t be seeing a Telmex McLaren Honda team in 2015?
MW: I doubt it. You want to draw me into something! (laughs) As I said, I doubt it as it is not in our plan at the moment.”

Danica Just Says No To Bernie (Speed)

Danica Patrick: “I’ve always said that unless that it would be something I would want to do for real, as in race a Formula One car, I don?t see any point in testing it. It is a lot or work to get fitted in the car comfortable enough to go drive it. Then as a driver, for me at least, I run the risk of what if it doesn?t go well, and then people judge me for that. So, unless it was something that I was really serious, I wouldn?t do it.”

Kubica eager to return to Formula 1 (Autosport)

“I would pay all the money I have to be back in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car. At the moment [racing at] Barcelona would be possible, Monaco would not be possible.”

FIA boss steers clear of Albert Park’s F1 future (The Age)

“‘He was careful to stay out of the controversy over the cost to the government of another multi-year contract requiring public funding of tens of millions of dollars annually. ‘It’s part of the natural business negotiation,’ Todt said. ‘At the moment, there is an ongoing contract between the commercial rights-holder of F1 and the Albert Park organisers, so it’s up to them to discus about the future.'”

New season, new faces ?ǣ the F1 drama continues (FT, registration required)

“‘The sport is going from strength to strength,’ says Zak Brown, chief executive of JMI, a motorsport sponsorship agency. ‘The quality and size of the announcements in recent months have been awesome.'”

‘Mikey Muscles’: The mastermind behind Button’s fitness explains what it takes to get the F1 iron man in shape (Daily Mail)

“We wanted to plan when Jenson is going to do some competition, so there are two half Iron Man events he is doing this year. One is off the back of Malaysia next week in the gap between China and then one in Berlin in June.”

Reliving the 1986 Brazilian Grand Prix (The Guardian)

“As the 61-lap race started in sunny conditions, Mansell made the most decisive move, surging past Piquet and into second place behind Senna. Sadly, Mansell’s positive opening to the new season was soon to end, as his attempt to overtake Senna before the end of the first lap was thwarted when the Brazilian slammed the door in his face.”

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Comment of the day

Antonio Nartea is encouraged by Jules Bianchi’s start at Marussia:

Well, Bianchi turned out to be a much better choice than Razia would have been, that?s for sure.

Marussia made the absolute best of that situation, for what it?s worth. Hats off. At this rate I wouldn?t be surprised if Bianchi manages to take the battle to Toro Rosso on occasions, this season.

They are right. The performance in Melbourne is nothing but good news for them. For Caterham on the other hand…
Antonio Nartea (@Tony031r)

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On this day in F1

Lewis Hamilton won the opening Grand Prix of the 2008 season in Australia, putting him on course to win the world championship.