Mercedes boss says team will recover from disappointment in Australia

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team insist they will come back stronger from their defeat to Ferrari at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Mercedes have dominated Formula One for the past three years, but Sebastian Vettel's comfortable victory here would appear to suggest that their stranglehold on the sport may be over.

Four-time champion Vettel finished 10 seconds clear of Hamilton at Albert Park, which marked the first time a team other than Mercedes has won the first grand prix of the season since 2013.

It could be argued that it is just what the sport needed after three consecutive years of Hamilton versus Nico Rosberg - the reigning champion who watched Sunday's race unfold from his lounge in Monaco.

"It is personality building," admitted Mercedes boss Toto Wolff as he reflected on Vettel's victory. "You lose some and you win some.

"We have been very fortunate in the last three years that we have won most of them. Now it is about accepting that Ferrari beat us.

"I would much rather win than lose, but it is part of Formula One and we have had an exceptional run in the last three years.

"We always said this was an outlier and we cannot expect this to continue forever. We did not have a great testing and we did not have a great Sunday, but we will leave no stone unturned in order to win. We will come out stronger."

Mercedes arrived in Melbourne in a new era for the sport - following sweeping changes to the technical rulebook - in the belief that Ferrari held the advantage after an encouraging pre-season for the famous Italian team.

But a practice double for Hamilton - followed up by securing pole position - gave them hope that they would extend their winning run which stood at 51 from the last 59 races heading into today's grand prix. It was not to be.

"Even if we won all those races and it looked like it was easy or it was clear it wasn't," Wolff added.

"We were always sceptical whether it was good enough and we always tried to look at the negatives in everything we did and look at the worst-case scenario and that is why we always considered Red Bull or Ferrari to be real competitors.

"Fighting against Ferrari is something that is exciting. It is something that is exciting for the fans and a new challenge for us."

Television footage cut to a furious Wolff thumping his fist on a desk inside the Mercedes garage after Vettel emerged ahead of Hamilton following the only round of pit stops.

"I need to work on my emotions during the race," Wolff said before joking: "I will talk to someone professionally about it."


 

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