Lewis Hamilton says his hunger to be world champion has doubled

Vettel was able to pit and come back out ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton, immediately forging a buffer that would sustain until the end of the race.

With Vettel charging to victory at the 2017 Formula 1 season opener in Melbourne Raikkonen endured a frustrating race to finish fourth but 22 seconds off his team-mate despite suffering no mechanical issues with his auto.

It is going to be a close race.

"It could have gone terribly wrong after building up such high expectations in preseason testing (where they had) the fastest vehicle, the fastest lap times", Baldwin says.

"I know there's always more to come ahead and I just need to keep doing what I do and we'll be okay".

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes must work on their tyre strategy after finishing second in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

Vettel, who joined Ferrari in 2015 after four successive titles with Red Bull, has 43 career wins to Hamilton's 53 but every hope of closing the gap. It waited much longer than other teams before bringing Vettel in for his first stop, leaving many to speculate it had thrown the race away.

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Australia's big hope Daniel Ricciardo had a heartbreaking day, with gear-box problems ending his race on the 29th lap, after he was forced to start from pit lane when his Red Bull auto broke down on the warm-up lap. And now it's about accepting that here Ferrari beat us.

Indeed, yesterday's win means that for the first time under the new formula introduced in 2014, a non-Mercedes powered driver leads the championship.

"I'd much rather win than lose but it's part of Formula 1". As a team I think we did a good job with the vehicle we had.

Hamilton said such respect was mutual, and that it was an honour to potentially square off against the four-time champion for silverware this year. "He's proven to be one of the quickest drivers on the grid and for sure I would love to have a close battle", he said.

Hamilton said earlier this year his defeat at the hands of Rosberg in last year's title fight had made him more determined to succeed in 2017.

Hamilton defended Mercedes' decision to bring him in for a pit stop earlier than Vettel. The Brit stopped over at Abu Dhabi and enjoyed a little sandboarding but is determined to get some rest and come back stronger than ever for the next race of the season.

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