Lewis Hamilton seeks answers from Mercedes over performance issues

Sebastian Vettel Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto and Charles Leclerc

But before the 2018 season ended, Ferrari confirmed that they would be replacing Raikkonen with rising star Charles Leclerc for the 2019 season. As I always say, it doesn't matter where you start the season, but where you finish. He is very talented.

"Obviously there are many people who support you, and honestly I appreciate that a lot".

Leclerc, 21, has been drafted into Ferrari in only his second season in F1, after starring on his debut for Sauber past year.

In the post race interview, the German admitted that he was baffled by how Lewis was driving and if he was too bored to challenge Bottas for the win.

With the Dutchman eventually coming out on top at Albert Park - he then pressured five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who was in second-place behind his team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

With Rich Energy Haas' Kevin Magnussen running roughly 30 seconds behind Leclerc in sixth place, Leclerc would have had more than enough time to make a pit stop and still come out in fifth with the fastest and freshest tires of anybody in the field, giving him a great chance to earn 11 points for a fifth place finish as opposed to the standard 10.

Team principal Mattia Binotto said the performance was not what Ferrari was expecting.

"If we judge his entire weekend, it was a pretty strong one", Binotto said. "He drove well all through Q1 and Q2, maybe not perfectly in Q3, but generally speaking he had a good weekend and his second stint he was performing well".

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Black armbands and other tributes were on display throughout the race weekend.

"I guess we were just slow", Vettel said after the race. "Valtteri did an exceptional job throughout the race, so congratulations to him and after that it was just about bringing the vehicle home".

"The second lap was definitely better than the first, which is not always the case and it's always quite hard in the second lap to pull that amount of time out but the first lap I made a mistake which is quite unusual for me", said Hamilton afterward. Once we got to the first corner, we held position, we had the front row still.

"I tried obviously to find the limits in Q2 and went a little bit over the limit but fortunately the vehicle was fine overall but unfortunately it didn't work out how I wanted".

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says he had no idea that Valtteri Bottas had such a dominant performance up his sleeve heading into the F1 Australian Grand Prix, as the Finn bounced back from a.

Vettel and Binotto said they did not yet know what had gone wrong in Australia to cause the auto to have less grip and poor balance compared to in pre-season testing in Barcelona. "We thought we could improve the balance over the weekend, but it didn't happen".

He predicted: "If we can identify what the issue was we can be back even stronger".



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