Hamilton ‘excited’ as rivals narrow the gap

Lewis Hamilton finds it “exciting” that the field has closed up from first to second practice ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton topped both practice sessions in Melbourne as Mercedes made the first early statement, but the Brit’s lead from the two free practices dropped from half a second to a tenth.

“It has been a good day. Coming here to the first race you never really know – you really have no idea what it is going to be like,” Hamilton reflected.

“You don’t know how you are going to feel physically, how the tyres are going to react to the circuit. But we started on the right foot and got through everything that we needed to.

“It closed up a little bit in P2 in terms of the gap, but that is exciting anyways. It is more challenging for me to drive and eke out a little more from the car. We have to establish if I lost some performance or they all gained. But I enjoyed driving.”

Hamilton was also blown away by the sheer speed of the 2018 cars and stated that the niggling tyre issues that affected Mercedes in the winter have not continued in Australia.

He added: “The tyres definitely didn’t seem to have the issue that we had after Barcelona, where they were just blistering the whole time.

“So it felt a lot more normal. But obviously the car is quicker here than it was last year, so it feels better everywhere.

“Turns 11 and 12 are just crazy! We are not even braking into that corner, it is insane! But we are going to get quicker and quicker through the weekend. Well if it does not rain.”

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