Lewis Hamilton laps up the cheers at F1 season launch party in Melbourne as Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel vows his team will do ‘much better’ this year ahead of Australian Grand Prix
- New Formula One season kicks off this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix
- Lewis Hamilton and the rest of the 20 drivers gathered for the launch party
- Then Sebastian Vettel and Co took a walk around the circuit in Australia
The British driver is once again the man to beat after he picked up an incredible fifth world championship last season.
This year’s campaign kicks off in Australia on Sunday and ahead of the race, Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Co came together to meet their adoring fans.
Lewis Hamilton laps up the adulation of F1 supporters at the launch event in Melbourne
The British star waves to the crowd as he speaks ahead of the start of the new campaign
Thousands of supporters gathered to greet all 20 drivers and their bosses in Melbourne
All 20 drivers and their team bosses were met by thousands of supporters at the inaugural season launch event in Federation Square on Wednesday.
Mercedes stars Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas came on stage with team chief Toto Wolf, with the British driver snapped taking pictures of the supporters gathered in Melbourne.
‘I wasn’t expecting to see so many people here,’ said a shocked Hamilton. ‘This turn out means it’s probably going to be a good weekend!’
Vettel and his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc also took part in the glitzy event before they and the rest of the teams swapped the stage for the track.
Hamilton fist bumps his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas during the launch event
Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel (L) and Charles Leclerc (R) address the crowd
Vettel and the rest of the drivers then took a walk around the track at Albert Park in Melbourne
The drivers took a walk around the circuit at Albert Park, where they will kick off their title bids on Sunday.
Vettel and Ferrari are looking to bounce back from a disappointing season last year and the German said they are hoping to ‘turn the page’.
‘For sure it’s a new challenge,’ said Vettel. ‘We had our weaknesses last year here and there and we obviously try to fix those and do much better this year.
‘So far, the spirit is right, the team is on track, the car feels good so let’s see how we start the year.’
Red Bull pair Max Verstappen (R) and Pierre Gasly (L) address the crowd with Christian Horner
Roman Grosjean of Haas takes a ride around the circuit ahead of this season’s opening race
Williams’ Robert Kubica (centre) familiarises himself with the track before his amazing return
Hamilton, meanwhile, is braced for a scrap.
‘This is going to be the toughest battle yet,’ he claimed.
‘We’ve got the best team around us. We have experience, it’s no coincidence that we are world champions so we have to be diligent and stay balanced.’
He added: ‘But as a driver for sure I have to figure out how can I pull more out, which I don’t have the current answer for.’
Members of the Alfa Romeo team look relaxed as they enjoy a walk around the track
Serio Perez of Racing Point (left) soaks up his surroundings ahead of the new season