After finishing second last season in the Formula One driver's championship, Lewis Hamilton will be keen to win the title in 2017. The Australian Grand Prix, which starts on Sunday (race day), kicks off the 2017 season, and the Mercedes driver will have to fight some tough competition with Ferrari being another serious contender.
Mercedes were forced to make some major changes in their team with Nico Rosberg deciding to retire after becoming the world champion. His decision baffled experts and fans, but Mercedes had some serious thinking to do, and they signed Valtteri Bottas as Rosberg's replacement.
Bottas, who was Williams' driver from 2013 to 2016, will be under pressure to deliver. With a team like Mercedes, they are only acquainted with winning, and anything below that may not be acceptable. The Finnish driver must get that ahead as soon as possible, and with Hamilton being their lead driver, Mercedes will be expecting much more from the three-time world champion.
Mercedes might have been brilliant last season, with both Rosberg and Hamilton winning race after race, but things could be a bit bumpy for them this season. If one looked at all the teams in F1 pre-season testing, Ferrari were one of the best as far as their pace were concerned.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have already impressed with their car's pace, and Hamilton is aware of the fact. With the experience of Vettel and Raikkonen, Ferrari have it in them to push Hamilton all the way in 2017.
With the first race of the season just a few days away, all the teams will be looking to start well in the Australian Grand Prix. It can set the tone and give the teams and their drivers the much-needed confidence in what is expected to be a close season.
Hamilton, who has won the Australian Grand Prix two times in the past, will be particularly keen to collect maximum points in the first race of the season.