The new Formula 1 season kicks off in Melbourne today in earnest as the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg prepare to renew their fight for the drivers’ title.
2014 provided a vintage championship battle between the Silver Arrows, with Hamilton emerging the victor in Abu Dhabi thanks to his double points victory and Rosberg’s subsequent non-score.
Now though, the scoreboard has been reset. Today, both drivers start from zero, and you can be sure that they will be hungrier than ever to make the most of this.
For Hamilton, history is within his grasp, as he could become the first British driver in F1 history to win back-to-back titles. A third championship would also draw him level with his hero, Ayrton Senna, in the record books.
As for Rosberg? 2015 is a chance for him to apply the lessons that he learned last year in his defeat and have another shot at the title.
To start with in Australia though, Hamilton appears to have lost none of his advantage from last year. The Briton stormed to pole position ahead of Rosberg as Mercedes once again proved to be the cream of the field. Once again, it seems that today’s race will be a question of “who” rather than “if” for the Gemran marque.
Just behind the Silver Arrows, Williams and Ferrari look set to scrap over third place in the battle to be the ‘best of the rest’. Felipe Massa lines up third for Williams ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, but the Brazilian will be fighting alone after teammate Valtteri Bottas was ruled out in the hour leading up to the race by the FIA stewards following a back injury.
Just 17 cars had been due to start the opening grand prix of the season following Manor’s failure to qualify. However, this has now fallen to 15 after Kevin Magnussen suffered an engine failure on his installation lap, whilst Daniil Kvyat failed to make the start after also stopping on track.
You can watch the Australian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra now (CLICK HERE for live stream) with the race starting at 1a ET.
STARTING GRID FOR THE 2015 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Felipe Massa Williams
4. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
7. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso
8. Romain Grosjean Lotus
9. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
10. Felipe Nasr Sauber
11. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso
DNS. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull
13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
14. Sergio Perez Force India
15. Marcus Ericsson Sauber
16. Jenson Button McLaren
DNS. Kevin Magnussen McLaren