Hamilton would be vying for a 5th world title in the F1 2018 season but will have stiff competition from the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers.
While Ferrari topped the charts in testing, Hamilton believes that Red Bull have the fastest car this time round.
At Petronas’ event, Hamilton confirmed that Red Bull is the team to beat this year and that they could be the fastest in Melbourne this time round, especially with the rumoured updates that are scheduled to come in.
I think this year is going to be exciting, because last year there was a big difference between teams in the beginning, and then they got closer – but this year I think it starts this close and then it’s going to overlap, and separate, and overlap during the year, as people are developing.
“Because we don’t bring upgrades at the same time, I think Red Bull will bring something at the first race, which will be interesting to see.
“I think Red Bull are the fastest at the moment, potentially. They have some sort of upgrade coming, of some magnitude, two-to-four tenths or something like that – that’s what I heard.”
After the testing had come to an end, Ricciardo had in fact confirmed that new ‘go-fast’ parts would be added to the car before the Australian Grand Prix, and thus the true power and speed of the car would be visible only in qualification in Melbourne.
“Their car, they have generally a slightly different philosophy, they always build a car that has lots of downforce. Their maximum downforce has always been more than everyone else’s downforce.
“But that doesn’t work always everywhere. Some places where you have longer straights – cause they’re very slow on the straights, normally, but they’re fast through the corners. This advantage shifts through the year.
“I’m super confident in my team and the work they’ve done, I just think it’s going to be close.” Hamilton added.
Is it going to be a closer three-way battle this time?