Lewis Hamilton has had a long winter break but is now up and ready for the upcoming F1 season. A fierce battle awaits(at least that’s what he thinks) with Ferrari and Red Bull breathing down Mercedes’ neck.
F1’s three biggest teams ended the last season very close, despite Mercedes winning more than half of the races, and Hamilton expects something very similar this year as well, although winter testing hasn’t begun until now.
Speaking to the press at the Mercedes W09 launch, Hamilton said that he hadn’t seen the new Red Bull until now, but considering last season, he is looking forward to a ‘tough battle’ for supremacy.
“You see the pictures [of the new cars] come out and the ones that have been posted are all very vague, you can’t really see the items they have on the car,” said Hamilton.
“I haven’t even see the Red Bull yet but last year when that turned up it had no [aero] furniture on it. Their development curve was quite steep, they were a second and a bit behind and then with us at the end.
“But given that we ended last season Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves very close, I anticipate this year we’ll be quite similar in that sense. So I think you’re going to see a tougher battle.” he added.
Hamilton along with Vettel will be vying for their 5th title this season and the individual battle could get really tight and intense this season with the duo involved in various ‘close shaves’ in the last season.
“Always expect for the worst and hopefully it will be better. This year because it is going to be a closer season we have no idea what we’re going to face.
“But what I can say is that last year was a positive year in respect of handling the different situations that I faced. Generally, over the last few years, I’ve been pretty good at handling it, so I should be even better this year.
“The real focus for me is performing at my best. Hopefully, if I’m performing at my best there will be issues because they’ll be upset about it!” said Hamilton when asked about the competition with Vettel.”
Talking about his preparation for the upcoming season, Hamilton was upbeat and said that it was probably the best rest period for him and that he is rejuvenated for the gruelling season ahead.
“I feel like I’m in the best shape that I’ve been,” he said. “I say that every year, but I train differently each year. This year being that the cars are quicker you need to be stronger.
“There were areas last year that were great but I want to improve on those. Consistency was awesome last year so if I can take one of the ingredients of last year and add a couple of spices in this year I think I can have a better year.” the Mercedes driver said.
What did Hamilton do last winter?
Hamilton had some good family time, followed by a trip to Japan, where he snowboarded before heading to the States.
“I started in Los Angeles and then I was in Colorado. There was no snow but I was with family. Then I made a trip out to Japan with Monster [Energy] which was pretty epic. I got to snowboard quite a lot. I went surfing one of the days when it was raining. It was a good experience and I love Japan.” he said.
“I also did some training there and then I flew back to Europe for a couple of weeks. Then I was back over in the States and I went surfing with [11-time world surfing champion] Kelly Slater. I say ‘surfing’, but I did a lot of swimming because I’m not the greatest surfer yet.
“But the goal is to improve. It’s great for working out because it’s quite physical. I got down to a 6.2 board so I was quite happy with my progress.
“I go for the biggest waves and get barrelled over!” Hamilton added.