Mercedes gave us the first real flash of the potency of their 2019-spec W10 during Friday practice for the Australian Grand Prix, as Lewis Hamilton headed both practice sessions across the day. But although the team enjoyed a significant advantage over the rest of the field in FP2, Hamilton was under no illusions that he was suddenly odds on for victory in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
Having outpaced Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by just 0.036s in FP1, by FP2, Hamilton found himself 0.8s clear of the next non-Mercedes runner, the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, while Vettel was Ferrari’s fastest driver in fifth – 0.873s behind. But Hamilton believes that the fight between Mercedes and their rivals will be much, much closer come qualifying.
“If you look today at how close it is, even the mid-pack are really close, so I would say even more than ever before there's even less margin for error,” said Hamilton. “That's how it's supposed to be, that's what we get paid the big bucks to do is to pull out those milliseconds to try and make the difference so I'm super stoked and excited for what’s to come.”