Hamilton wants to land 'painful' KO blow on rivals

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10.
© XPB 

Mercedes might not have got off to quite the flying start they were hoping for in the first week of pre-season testing in Spain, but Lewis Hamilton is still setting his sights on delivering a knockout blow to their rivals in 2019.

“Each year the goal is to get better," the reigning champion told the media this week ahead of the start of the defence of his title.

And as far as Hamilton is concerned, it didn't matter if there were even more rivals vying for his world championship crown this year.

"Looking at our competitors out there, the more competition, the better,” he said. "I don’t think it adds pressure - it doesn’t really change anything to be honest.

“You always want to be against the best while at your best," he continued. "Because then when you beat them, it is more painful for them - and more enjoyable for you!"

But the subdued start to the testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has been a wake up call to everyone at the team, and reminded all at Brackley that nothing can be taken for granted - even for five-with world champions.

Hamilton was only seventh fastest overall in the first four days on track, with a best time of 1:17.977s set on Thursday putting him half a second off Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and a tenth behind his own team mate Valtteri Bottas. But as Hamilton was quick to point out, testing is very different from racing.

"Ultimately I just love driving. I don't love testing," he admitted. "I just want to go racing. I don't struggle with the motivation for that.

“It’s a new season, a new year, a new chapter. We have to approach it like it’s our first and we’re going for number one. That’s how I approach it.

“Every year you reset, you re-evaluate and you set new goals," he continued. “That is the same for all of us when you come to a new year. You set new heights and new targets.

"It is pretty much the same as in recent years where we are out there to work cohesively and extract absolutely everything from ourselves as team and the car.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.

If Hamilton did secure another championship in 2019 it would break the tie he shares with Juan Manuel Fangio with five apiece. Only Michael Schumacher has been more successful in the history of the sport, with seven titles between 1994 and 2004.

"It’s not something that I allow my peers to talk about, that’s not who we’re here to focus on, that number,” insisted Hamilton, who has won 73 races compared to 91 for Schumacher.

Another title success in 2019 would also mean a sixth straight constructors title for Mercedes.

“It’s never been done before," Hamilton pointed out. "We are always driven to do something new and break boundaries and do stuff that no-one has done before.

"But we are fully aware of the work that it will take to deliver something like that."

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