Melbourne hosts the opening round of the F1 season this weekend. Eric Thompson picks five drivers to watch.

Lewis Hamilton

The defending champion is in the box seat as the man with the title and in the best car (Mercedes). Whether he's focused enough this year to hold off his teammate Nico Rosberg and a resurgent Ferrari outfit is another matter.

Nico Rosberg

Finished the 2015 season on fire and with Mercedes relaxing restrictions about racing each other (Hamilton), hopefully we'll see more than just caps being thrown between teammates. He'll have to find some aggression and be at the top of his game if he'll be a match for Hamilton.


Sebastien Vettel

Ferrari has been quick in pre-season testing and will need to keep making big improvements to rattle the Mercedes cage. Given the right tools he'll be able to put anyone to the sword on any given Sunday. Not shy of a challenge, he might just bring back the glory days for prancing horse.

Daniel Ricciardo

The Red Bull Racing pilot has to put a dismal year behind him and the team has to pull itself up by the bootstraps. The Aussie has the talent to run with alpha pack and beat them but needs the gear to do it. Hopefully the team will be more raging bull this season rather than bulls***.

Valtteri Bottas

If the Williams driver can come out of gates fast during the early part of the season, he'll be there or there about the entire year. As long as he doesn't get side tracked and loose focus. The team is in the grove and getting a win early on will do him wonders.