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    IN WORDS: Lewis & Valtteri's Australia Debrief Lewis and Valtteri run thro...

Lewis and Valtteri run through the key learnings from their first race weekend of the 2018 Formula One season in Melbourne

'All the teams are closer on pace'

Valtteri managed to advance seven spots during the race, some of which were gained during his Virtual Safety Car pit stop and others were due to race retirements.

He did pull off a couple of strong overtaking moves but the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is notoriously tricky when it comes to overtaking and highlighted how much the field has bunched up in 2018.

"It is a difficult track for overtaking," Valtteri explained. "The DRS definitely helped, but this year it is more difficult to follow cars than last year.

"You can already feel it when you are three seconds behind. All the teams are closer on pace, too, which makes it even more difficult."

Lewis closed in on race leader Sebastian on several occasions but just couldn't in the right zone to try and make a move. "I think it's the second hardest track to overtake of all 21," the Brit said.

"With all my abilities and tools, I couldn't get close enough to be in fighting range. I was catching him in the corners then he was quicker on the straights."

'I was constantly being pushed and pulled'

Following other cars impacts the airflow and cooling of the engines - something that both Lewis and Valtteri experienced during the race.

This meant that they could only sustain an attack for a few laps before having to back off to allow temperatures to subside - particularly with engine life set to be one of the bigger challenges of the 2018 season.

"I have to do seven races with this engine. Preferably more if I can," Lewis said. "So I was on the limit pushing but always nervous of damaging the engine at the same time.

"I cooled it down and then when I got relatively close, it came back. So I was constantly being pushed and pulled."

Valtteri's entire race was spent in traffic and this meant he could "never push for many laps in a row" and "had to back off many times" in order to avoid the engine overheating.

He added: "I couldn't put pressure on other cars, I could only follow for two laps and then back off and try again."

'It's not going to be easy'

Australia is everyone's first chance to see the pecking order. But it takes time to develop a good understanding of where all the teams sit.

"From my experience, I never know how it's going to plan out," Lewis admitted, when asked about the competitive order. "It's just been the first race.

"This weekend there was so much talk about party mode or if Ferrari would be quick enough. I don't think the gap was as big as it seemed in Qualifying. It's just that I had a good lap and maybe Sebastian didn't have a good lap.

"But, in the race they were very, very quick. I put up a bit of a fight towards the end but they were within a tenth of us today.

"We go to Bahrain and there are going to be ups and downs. Ferrari are really good on the straights and always go well on hot circuits, so they will be rapid at the next race. It's not going to be easy."

What does Valtteri think? "It seems very close. Ferrari obviously won today and the same thing happened last year. We are not miles ahead. I think it is going to be a close and tough season."

'So much positivity to take forward'

Losing out on a potential victory is always tough, but the Australian Grand Prix was an encouraging and promising weekend overall.

"There is so much positivity to take forward with us. It feels like a dark cloud but it's still a positive result and we've got a great car. We are the World Champions and with a couple of adjustments we can win the next race. I believe that."

"The car is quicker than last year, so it feels better everywhere. Turns 11 and 12 were crazy. We're not even braking into that corner, it's insane"

Asked about the biggest positives to take from his weekend, Valtteri added: "Q2. It felt like I was starting to get things right and I was on very similar pace with Lewis.

"Once we get the car in the window, it seems like it's really quick, so that's something positive. There's still more to unlock.  We've definitely learned a lot and we'll keep on learning.

"I know the speed is there. So, I will try again in two weeks. You have to learn from your mistakes but there is a limit to how much you have to beat yourself up. You have to be in your best mental and physical shape."

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