Hamilton joins Mercedes having spent six seasons with McLaren, with whom he won the title in 2008.
“It’s the start of a new season and the beginning of a new adventure for me with Mercedes. I can’t wait to get to Melbourne, get out on track and find out where we stand,” he said.
“The Australian Grand Prix is always an exciting race: the teams don’t know how they compare in terms of performance, the fans are fantastic and, with big changes to the tyres again this year, we just don’t know what will happen in the race. I love the circuit. It’s a street track with a really bumpy surface so you try and put as much downforce on the car as possible and it really puts the drivers to the test”.
“We had a good, reliable car during winter testing so that’s the positive we can take with us into the weekend but we know that in terms of performance, everything begins again from zero in Friday practice. So let’s get Down Under, get racing and see how things turn out.”
Team-mate Nico Rosberg reckons tyre wear will be the biggest issue facing teams in Melbourne.
“The first Grand Prix is where everyone finds out where they really are and we can judge how well we have done against our competition as the times in winter testing just don’t tell the full story,” said Rosberg.
“The weather in Melbourne looks very hot at the moment which is going to be a tough challenge as we have no experience with the F1 W04 in those conditions. Tyre degradation will be the biggest issue for everyone so we need to look at that carefully and do a good job in managing it. I’m really looking forward to next weekend and getting the season underway.”