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Thursday press conference – Australian GP - Pt.1

Thursday FIA press conference from Melbourne, Australia with Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel

Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing), Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing).

Press conference.

Gentlemen, welcome. Let's start with you Mark. There have been a couple of retirements from the sport, so you're the oldest man on the grid this year – don't worry, you don't look it just yet. Home race to start the season. Pretty much everyone here apart from Kimi has a home race. Is it good to get one out of the way first of all, all the pressure and extra attention that goes with it?

Mark Webber:
I think it's just great to come to Australia at any stage let alone for a race, so we're all looking forward to finally getting racing. There's a lot of testing that goes on in Spain and we can all get down to what we all enjoy doing and that's racing the cars. So, yeah, all the teams, drivers come here with a little bit more anxiety let's say just because it's the first grand prix of the year, whether it's pit stops or whatever department you're in, it's a fresh challenge for the new year. For sure around round six, round seven everyone is more comfortable with their jobs but it's the same for everyone. It's a great event and looking forward to getting into the car.

Daniel, I'm sure you're looking forward to getting into the car as well for what is your home grand prix. It's your second full season at Toro Rosso – extra pressure that goes with that? You against Jean-Eric Vergne. Is it a shootout between the pair of you? How do you see your season coming?

Daniel Ricciardo:
Just hanging out for it to start, actually. Obviously I'll try and take the experience I learned from last year and bring it into this season; a bit of extra confidence and whatnot and then just try to get some better results and start to creep up the order a bit. That's really the plan. You always want to try to beat the team-mate. That's always there, but I'm definitely focused on myself and just do than usual, not doing any dramatic changes.

I'm not sure there's anything that's pretty much usual for you Lewis. New team. Melbourne might be familiar but Mercedes still not quite the familiar team that McLaren would be. How much different is your life at the moment with your new outfit?

Lewis Hamilton:
It's not that much different. It's put me in a better place. Just settling into the team pretty well. It's still a F1 team and they still exist to win. The guys are doing a fantastic job and I'm really excited about the season and excited to get back in the car.

More excited after Barcelona? It went well that final weekend for you and for Nico.

Lewis Hamilton:
Not particularly any more excited I think. You can't really take too much from the tests.

With that in mind Kimi, let's reflect on yours and Lotus' chances for this season. A slight touch of unreliability in the tests but a lot of people are saying you, the team are genuine contenders for the title this year. Is that accurate?

Kimi Raikkonen:
It's difficult to say but we will see after maybe two or three races where we are. We had a few small issues and unfortunately the issues just took a long time to fix. That happens. I think we should be OK. There are always things that can go wrong but I think we are more or less, speedwise, similar to where we were last year when we started and like I said it's difficult to say exactly where we will be. We'll see a bit tomorrow.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing with the media. 01.03.2013.
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.

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