Lewis Hamilton equalled his hero Ayrton Senna when he won his third Championship in 2015 but with the introduction of both rule and technical changes in Formula 1, he may have to work a little harder to lift title number four this season.
Following the shock departure of 2016 winner and his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, the Briton is one of four drivers to have won a championship ahead of a season that looks increasingly competitive.
There is no doubt that the Mercedes team will be challengers at the business end of the campaign, but it appears that Ferrari and Red Bull may have the cars to back their talented drivers in the 2017 campaign.
During winter testing in Barcelona Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari appeared to have the quickest car on the grid and Hamilton has admitted that he is looking forward to being challenged by the German.
Earlier this week, the 32-year-old said: “I have not had a lot of battles with Sebastian [Vettel], so I would love to have that. The fans want to see it.”
Although the fact that the Mercedes driver has referred to them as “favourites” has not gone unnoticed.
Outside of the top three only Fernando Alonso has the ability to compete with the top teams, but the Honda engine that powers his McLaren is unlikely to give his car the ability to compete for a place amongst the elite. A situation that he has become increasingly vocal - and annoyed - about in recent weeks.
With another place on the podium, it has to go to local boy Daniel Ricciardo particularly after losing his second-place finish in the 2014 Australian Grand Prix.
Finishing in fourth last year was the best he has done since that race and starting the season on those steps in Australia would be the perfect start to the season, particularly with teenage superstar Max Verstappen breathing down his next in the Red Bull garage.
Natasha's Australian GP podium prediction:
1. Lewis Hamilton
2. Sebastian Vettel
3. Daniel Ricciardo
Now it's your turn. Who do you think will be on the podium on Sunday afternoon? Leave your predicted top three in the comments section below.
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