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New Formula 1 season kick offs this weekend

The 2013 Formula 1 season is set to get underway this coming weekend in Australia and for many motorsport fans, it can’t come soon enough. The intensity of the 2012 season came to an extraordinary halt in Brazil as Sebastian Vettel claimed his third World-Championship, three points ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. But none of that will matter come Sunday’s opening race of the season. Sebastian Vettel has the fastest times in both practice sessions, while Lewis Hamilton – now of Mercedes, following his high-profiled departure from McLaren – was unable to complete his final run, after losing control at turn three and careering onto the gravel. However, Hamilton remained reasonably upbeat about his practice run, “Overall it was a good day, if perhaps not the smoothest. I’m happy with where we are and to see Nico in third place on the timesheets shows that we’re competitive.” Said the Brit. News that Vodafone are to withdraw from their sponsorship with McLaren slightly overshadowed their recent preparation, but Jenson Button was pleased with his first and second practice times resulting in a 9th and 11th position, although the Brit admitted there was still “a lot of work to do” as the team continually learn about their new car. With the likes of Hamilton moving to Mercedes and Button admitting things are far from perfect at McLaren, the 2013/14 season seems as wide open as ever. And this was further echoed by Alonso’s belief that any one of 10 drivers could win Sunday’s race. The Spaniard said the five top teams were “very close” and it was “difficult to know” who was in the best shape. All of which is surely music to the ears of those F1 fans anticipating an unpredictable and exciting season.