Hungry Lewis Hamilton fires warning to rivals

Published: Tuesday 15th March 2016 by The News Editor

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Lewis Hamilton has warned his rivals that he still has much more to offer as he prepares to defend his Formula One crown.

The 31-year-old is bidding to become the first British driver to win four championships when the season starts in Melbourne on Sunday.

And he will head into the curtain-raiser as the title favourite with Mercedes’ dominance, in which they have won 32 of the previous 38 races, showing no signs of abating.

“I know that the guys and girls at the factory will keep pushing for more top results, so it’s up to us drivers to go out there and nail it for them on track,” Hamilton said. “People keep asking me about motivation – but I just have to look at the faces of all those people to know what I’m fighting for.

“I know there’s still more to come from me – I think I’ve shown that in the past two years. There certainly needs to be some extra in my tank, as the competition will be stronger than ever this year.”

While Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg is expected to provide the sternest examination of the Briton’s title credentials, Ferrari, led by Sebastian Vettel, are also tipped to improve on last year’s encouraging campaign.

But Hamilton believes the biggest challenge in 2016 could come by way of the clampdown on information relayed to the driver from the pit wall.

“The changes to the radio rules will have a big impact,” Hamilton added. “The engineers now can’t give you prompts or reminders that might affect performance during the race, so you have to remember so much more.

“This even applies to strategy, so when it’s shifting throughout the race you won’t be in the loop. It will be tough – but hopefully it will make for more exciting races.”

Hamilton’s team-mate Rosberg failed to win at any of the opening four rounds of what proved to be a bitterly disappointing year. So, naturally the German, who is entering the final year of his Mercedes deal, is keen to get off to a better start in 2016.

“I’m really hoping to bring back a couple of wins from the first flyaways to reward everyone at the factories for their hard work,” Rosberg, 30, said.

“There’s such a positive vibe in the team and everybody gets so excited. I know they’ll be cheering us on at home every weekend, so it’s our responsibility to deliver for them.

“I’ve had a great winter and done a few things differently for this year. I’ve never felt more ready to go. It’s going to be a great battle.”

Toto Wolff, whose Mercedes team are bidding for a third straight team title, added: “This is not a sport where you can relax. The minute you start being complacent you lose out, so you have to keep the energy in the system and we are doing this all the time.

“Likewise, the drivers need to keep raising their game. They are major competition for each other in the same car, which is not always going to be easy to handle.

“But with others also in the mix, it will be interesting to see how the dynamic evolves. We’ve shown in the past two seasons that there are no team orders – and this does not change.”

Published: Tuesday 15th March 2016 by The News Editor

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