F1 drivers expect Mercedes to be the team to beat in the first race of the season in Melbourne.
Asked in the pre-race press conference who was favourite for the word championship, Daniel Ricciardo said it was too soon to judge:
“I think championship, as I said before, it’s a long way away,” said the Red Bull driver.
“I could probably say for this race, judging by testing, but I think we’re going to develop so much throughout the year, all the teams, with the new cars this year… To answer your question simply for this race I would put my money on Mercedes.
Team mate Sebastian Vettel agreed: “For this race, probably Mercedes based on winter testing. But for the season I think after three races, four races we’ll know a little bit more.”
Felipe Massa also tipped Mercedes to win but Lewis Hamilton played down his team’s chances, naming Williams as the favourites.
The drivers gave varying views on how many cars will finish the first race of the season. Vettel suggested it might be as low as 12, while Massa, Hamilton and Fernando Alonso picked 14, 15 and 16 respectively.
New McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen reckoned all 22 drivers would see the chequered flag but Ricciardo was by far the most pessimistic.
“No one,” he joked. “We’re all going to be running across the line…”
2014 Australian Grand Prix
- The FIA’s verdict rejecting Red Bull’s appeal in full
- Red Bull’s own measurements showed Ricciardo’s car was illegal – FIA
- Red Bull lose appeal against Ricciardo’s Australian Grand Prix disqualification
- Magnussen wins Driver of the Weekend vote on debut
- Losing podium better than retiring – Ricciardo
11 comments on “Drivers tip Mercedes to lead the way in Australia”
13th March 2014, 5:21
Everyone is expecting Mercedes to win. Even Mercedes themselves, although they won’t admit it.
13th March 2014, 5:49
Im starting to think that mercedes don’t actually know where they are, everyone says its them but they must be suspicious, otherwise be brave and start printing merchandise.
13th March 2014, 6:43
I think Mercedes have a pretty good idea of where they are: The front row.
Of course they don’t want to come out and say that they’re the best right now and will win this weekend, because they’d look very red faced if they dont win.
I’m not a betting man, but if I were, it’s on Mercedes, and it’s not even close.
13th March 2014, 10:31
I agree with @tophercheese21, and think that Mercedes will be disappointed if they do not get both cars at least on the first 2 rows including pole @peartree come Saturday.
Its clear from how relaxed both guys are, that they might be saying they are not certain of their form, but themselves believe to be where one would want to be. Williams might be right on their tail though.
13th March 2014, 7:19
I wouldn’t bet on anyone right now. Yes Mercedes are the top dogs if they bring it over the distance, but there are so many variables and uncertainties in 2014 that it’s just a guess even for the teams themselves.
13th March 2014, 20:51
I would put my money on Williams to win this weekend.
13th March 2014, 8:48
I predict the car sporting the black highlights is gonna win.
That or a Williams.
But redbull and torro rosso are out coz they have no black. And lotus has too much!
13th March 2014, 10:42
…a Mercedes, yes, but an AMG SLS…!
13th March 2014, 14:12
Last year everybody was expecting utter and complete Red Bull domination, they even locked out the front row.. Come the race, the guy that qualified 7th won… In this year with the prospect of poor reliability and unpredictable weather, I simply can’t understand why most people on the grid are acting like Mercedes already got 43 points out of this race..
13th March 2014, 16:44
“Managing expectations for stakeholders”, I think they call it.
When Renault have sorted their lump out I think we’ll look back and laugh at this optimism, as the beautiful RB10 skips off into the distance…
13th March 2014, 16:49
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