Toto Wolff claims Mercedes will roar back from disappointment in Australia

Ross Houston
March 31, 2017

We'll have a clearer indication of Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's championship credentials, and how Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will respond when the Chinese Grand Prix takes place in two weeks time.

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team insist they will come back stronger from their defeat to Ferrari at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton started from the front but failed to convert his pole position into a victory after he was leapfrogged by Vettel at the first and only round of pit stops.

Although he has three World titles to his name, Lewis Hamilton's hunger to win another has "frickin doubled" especially after losing the crown past year. In the last two seasons the driver who has won in Australia to go on to win the championship.

"This year you are seeing the best against the best with the best drivers at the top", he told Sky Sports.

"Obviously it would be great to have Fernando [Alonso] up there, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon". I am really grateful to have that fight with him. This shows we've got a real race on our hands this season and it's a challenge we will relish. He described that role reversal for a team that are bidding for a fourth straight constructors' title as "personality building" but pledged Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas would hit back. "He's proven to be one of the quickest drivers on the grid", Vettel continued.

"I hope it stays that way and then we will see how it turns out, but it's obviously a lot of fun to race for victories and a lot of fun to race against the best".

It should be evident which team is faster when the Formula 1 field heads to China the first weekend of April. Vettel kept Hamilton honest but as the Briton slowly began to eke out a lead over his rival, the result appeared a formality. Thus Vettel was able to make his stop and emerge still in the lead, to the chagrin of Mercedes. Hamilton never came close to catching him. "It's going to be physically and mentally demanding but as Sebastian said, racing the best is what Formula One is all about".

After three years with the same Silver Arrow out in front you could argue having a different auto atop the podium is just what Formula One needs.

"Now, it is about accepting that Ferrari beat us", Wolff said.

Max Verstappen was fifth for Red Bull, which only got one vehicle to the finish and struggled to match the pace of Ferrari and Mercedes, which both notched lap records at Albert Park in practice and qualifying.

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