Hamilton bullish ahead of Melbourne

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton approaches this weekend’s F1 season-opener in Melbourne with buoyancy as the reigning world champion “plans to be better than last year”.

The Mercedes driver sealed his second title in 2014 after coming out on top of an intense intra-team with Nico Rosberg. The Briton secured 11 race wins, claimed 16 podium finishes and took seven poles to join Alberto Ascari, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mika Häkkinen, and Fernando Alonso in the club of two-time world champions.

“I feel fresh, I feel fit, I feel relaxed, I feel positive... I feel ready,” said Hamilton. “I think as a driver you get stronger with every season, so I plan to be better than last year.”

“The team have been working incredibly hard through the winter and it was great to see everyone in the factory before I left for Melbourne. I'm so thankful for everything they do and I want to show that in the best way I can out on track.”

Despite Mercedes coming off three strong pre-season tests – with the new W06 Hybrid looking every bit as competitive as its title-winning predecessor – Hamilton expects the competition to be closer in 2015.

“We had a great season last year as a team and, of course, we'd all love to repeat that. But the others won't stop chasing us. I'm sure the competition will be close and we should get exciting racing with plenty of battling for position - which is great because that's what I love doing and that's what the fans love watching.

“There are many good drivers out there and all of them want to win. You just have to want it more than they do.”

Hamilton also hopes his 2015 Australian weekend will have a different ending than last year’s Grand Prix when he stormed to pole around the Albert Park Circuit only to retire on the second lap because of a faulty engine cylinder.

Click here for the gallery from day four of the final test

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