F1 champ Hamilton says he has a weakness

Laine Clark
AAP

A chink in Lewis Hamilton's armour has finally been identified - by the four-time Formula One world champion himself.

But long suffering rivals shouldn't get too excited ahead of Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

"I have the same weakness as everyone - pancakes," Hamilton laughed.

However, the Briton wasn't so happy about former teammate Nico Rosberg's claim that inconsistency was the Mercedes driver's achilles heel.

Rosberg, who defied Hamilton to claim the 2016 world crown before retiring, told Sky Sports this week that his ex-teammate "has these periods where he is just not on it" and believed rivals could capitalise on it this season.

Clearly, Hamilton wasn't impressed.

"I think I've proved that that's not the case last year," said Hamilton, who claimed nine wins last year.

"I think there's a lot of people who need to get headlines and that's one way of (doing) it.

"The goal this year is to be even more consistent than last year.

"I think consistency is the main reason I won the world championship last year."

Still, main rival and fellow four-time world champ Sebastian Vettel believed Hamilton did have his weaknesses.

"Yeah, but there aren't many," Vettel said.

"But I'm sure we all have our weaknesses.

"Maybe some is part of our characters, maybe some are part of our driving."

The stage is set for an epic 2018 stoush between Vettel's revitalised Ferrari and perennial pacesetter Hamilton with both now in sight of equalling Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio's five world titles.

Only Michael Schumacher (seven) has won more.

It is the first time two four-time world Formula One champions have gone head to head.

Vettel pushed Hamilton last year, holding a 14-point championship lead by the summer break before the Briton came roaring home to ensure Mercedes clinched their fourth-straight drivers' and constructors' championships.

Defending Australian Grand Prix champion Vettel finished just 46 championship points behind Hamilton last year.

And he is expected to push the Briton again in 2018 after Ferrari were fastest at last month's F1 testing in Spain.

Vettel reckoned he had now formulated a plan to topple Hamilton - but he wasn't too keen to share it.

"Yeah it's all laid out but it's not with me. It's in my room," Vettel smiled.

"It's top secret so I can't give you any details."

When asked seriously if Ferrari had the speed to secure their first world title since 2007, Vettel said: "We will try but it's a long season.

"If it was one race, it's a different story. But it's a lot of races."

Two practice sessions will be held on Friday before Saturday's qualifying at Albert Park.