Lewis Hamilton’s table topping 2018 season handed the Englishman his fifth F1 World Drivers' Championship title - which is just two short of Michae
Lewis Hamilton’s table topping 2018 season handed the Englishman his fifth F1 World Drivers’ Championship title – which is just two short of Michael Schumacher’s record total of seven.
However, Ferrari have impressed in pre-season testing and Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc will be desperate to make an early impression on the field by achieving the top two spots on the podium in Australia.
Despite that, F1 expert James Allen believes that Hamilton won’t take a low points tally after week one to heart due to the Melbourne race being an “outlier”.
“We have to remember that when Hamilton exploded onto the scene in 2007 it was him steaming in front of his much more experienced team-mate Fernando Alonso that got our attention in Melbourne,” Allen exclusively told Express Sport.
“I don’t know if there is any particular circuits that do and don’t suit certain types of drivers.
“Hamilton is one of the all-time greats, I’m not sure you can say that he has a circuit that he is necessarily weak on.
“There are some that he enjoys more for the technical challenge etc.
“I always think that the first race of the season in Melbourne is always a bit of an outlier because it’s not really like anywhere else on the championship calendar.”
Although Mercedes have won the World Constructors’ Championship titles for the past five seasons, early testing has given Ferrari hope of winning their first silverware since 2008.
Allen thinks that all constructors will build their cars to work on a regular type of track, which can produce anomalous results in a limited number of races.
He said: “Teams tend to build their cars to perform best on tracks that are more typical, on the whole so you sometimes get a slightly odd result in Melbourne from that point of view.
“Sometimes the weather can intervene also, as it has done to Jenson Button’s benefit in the past and in terms of Hamilton and the championship.”
Ahead of Sunday’s opening race, Hamilton told fans that his team are not yet fully settled in their pursuit to retain their title.
“We have work to do,” Hamilton told Sky Sports,
“It might be closer than we think, it might be a bigger gap than we think. We don’t know what they’ve [his opponents] got up their sleeve.”
The season-opener in Melbourne was first held in 1928 and qualifying for the 2019 showpiece will take place on Saturday with the race beginning on Sunday at 5:10am UK time.
James Allen spoke to Express Sport in his role as President of Motorsport Network, the destination for millions of cars and racing fans.