Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car on turn 10 during the second practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, March 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
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Lewis Hamilton spent the offseason crisscrossing the globe to party with A-list celebrities but Formula One's reigning champion is adamant there will be no hangover when he returns to work at this week's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.Many invested in motor sport's pinnacle series will hope Hamilton is right about the level of competition he expects to face this season.While Hamilton has been living life like there is no tomorrow, there is also a sense that time is running out for his German rival, whose Mercedes contract expires at the end of the season.After Hamilton wrapped up his third title in Texas last year, Rosberg closed out the season with three successive wins, and at Albert Park he will hope to prove the late flourish owed more to his racing than a dip in his teammate's motivation.With only 11 cars finishing last year's season-opener in Melbourne, however, reliability will be paramount and that quality alone may be enough to score points.Along with the new drivers, F1's governing body will feel some butterflies with the debut of a new qualifying format which sees drivers progressively eliminated during the three phases rather than knocked out at the end of each of them.
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