Hamilton not resting on laurels

Published: Monday 16th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Lewis Hamilton has made clear there will be no let-up from Mercedes despite a crushing season-opening victory in Australia on Sunday.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has already expressed fears every grand prix for the remainder of the year “will be a two-horse race” between Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Horner has called on the FIA to introduce equalisation measures in an effort to level the playing field – he is concerned “the interest will wane” in the sport, otherwise.

That prompted a stinging response from Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, suggesting their rivals should get their heads down and work hard, or take their problems to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

Hamilton finished 1.3 seconds clear of Rosberg, but was never in any danger of relinquishing a lead he held for all bar two of the 58 laps around Melbourne’s Albert Park.

The best of the rest was Sebastian Vettel on his debut for Ferrari, albeit with the four-times champion 34.5secs adrift, but leaving Hamilton in no doubt he is a danger for the year.

“The Ferraris have taken a huge step forward. It’s clear they’ve made one of the biggest steps,” Hamilton said.

“So we definitely cannot back off because I’m sure they’re going to be pushing, and I anticipate we might have a good fight with them at some stage this year.”

Hamilton can only thank his lucky stars for the efforts Mercedes have again put in, giving him a car that will certainly have him pushing for a third world title.

“It’s unreal, absolutely unreal,” Hamilton said of Mercedes.

“When I talk to you about how good this team is, it’s hard for you to realise how good, but if you went to the factory you would realise it is a really special team.

“I know anyone would want to be here – thankfully I am, and I’m still doing the job.”

Come the podium ceremony there was a treat for the leading trio as they were interviewed by Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Hamilton was left wide-eyed, adding: “I felt it a real honour to meet Arnold. I’m a real fan of his, so I was really shocked to see him. It was really cool.

“He’s had an incredible career, he’s really inspiring – Mr Universe back in the day, then his acting, and although he didn’t say much they were the coolest movies, and then politics. He’s a legend.”

It was a race that began with just 15 cars on the grid, sparked by Manor’s absence after they failed to even turn a wheel all weekend due to their uphill battle against infrastructure problems.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas then failed a fitness test on a back injury sustained in qualifying, while McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat both ground to a halt on the formation lap with technical issues.

Lotus’ day was done after one lap as Pastor Maldonado crashed out after being clipped by Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, and Romain Grosjean retired with a power-unit problem.

By the chequered flag there were just 11 finishers as Formula One’s youngest driver in 17-year-old Max Verstappen also retired, while Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was forced to pull over after his second pit stop as his pit crew failed to fit the left-rear tyre correctly.

At least McLaren’s Jenson Button saw the chequered flag, albeit 11th and last, and two laps down on Hamilton, but claiming to be “happy” as progress had been made from a woeful pre-season.

Published: Monday 16th March 2015 by The News Editor

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