The Australian Grand Prix is always an exciting race and the fans are fantastic. They love their motorsport, so it’s an event that every driver looks forward to. I’m excited about the new season not just as a driver but as a fan. As a fan, you want to see overtaking throughout the field, you want to see different race winners, you want to see the championship go down to the wire… I hope that the changes for this year will make that happen. This is the year you need to watch Formula One! I think we’re as ready as we can be for Melbourne and I’m more fired up than ever. With all the changes within the sport and the hard work that’s been going on within the team, I believe this can be our year to really show what we’re capable of. That’s not to take anything away from our opposition, who will be incredibly tough to beat as always, but I feel like I’m equipped with the tools I need to succeed. I can’t wait to get started.
Lewis' Track Guide
I love Albert Park; it’s a circuit that really puts drivers to the test. It’s a half-and-half mix between street circuit and race track, with a really bumpy surface that’s tough on tyres. There are two high-speed sections, but the majority of corners are rated as low or medium speed, so you need to try and put as much downforce on the car as possible. Overtaking is tricky here but not impossible. It’s usually pretty close between a move coming off and ending badly, which is why we see a lot of safety cars.
Another factor is the weather, which can be blistering hot one day and freezing cold the next. You really do get four seasons in one day here! There have been race weekends in the past with temperatures in the teens during qualifying, but rising well into the thirties during the race. It can change very quickly, so you have to keep one eye on the forecast and set the car up to be able to cope with every scenario.
In terms of layout, the end of the start / finish straight is the fastest section with quite heavy braking into Turn One. It’s so easy to out-brake yourself here and there’s always a few tense moments over the course of the weekend as drivers push the limits. You quite often see incidents on the first lap here too as it’s pretty tight which, added to the adrenaline of that first race start of a new season, has created plenty of drama over the years.
Turn Three offers the best overtaking opportunity, but it’s far from easy to make a pass stick. You have to get a good exit from the first two corners and be brave and decisive when you make your move. Aside from that, it’s through the final two turns, 15 and 16, that you really want the car to work best. These are very slow and are where the most lap time can be gained from the car. A good run through here determines your speed down the start / finish straight.