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Hamilton plays down 'favourite' tag

NEWS STORY
13/03/2014

Lewis Hamilton has dismissed claims that he and his team are favourites for the 2014 title following their success in pre-season testing.

Certainly, the three pre-season tests showed that the Mercedes power unit is the must have, Force India, Williams and McLaren all looking seriously rejuvenated. However, it was the pace and reliability of the works cars, driven by Hamilton and his teammate, Nico Rosberg, that really caught the eye, leading to many tipping the team for both titles this year.

Speaking ahead of the season opener however, Hamilton played down the expectation.

"Everyone is talking us up and predicting the future but we really can't say what's going to happen this weekend," he told reporters. "We know we'll be strong, we've not left any stone unturned, we've done absolutely everything we can possibly do, so we're hoping we'll be at the front, that's our goal. But we can't say that's going to be the case. Coming here, knowing that this is the best chance out of all the years, I don't know; I haven't even got in the car and gone on the track yet.

"It is a long, long time since I won the world championship," he admitted, "it feels like a lifetime ago, but I'm still here, still motivated and actually a lot more than I ever was before and more focused than I ever was before. If the package is there then we will do the job and there's no reason why we can't be at the front again."

Asked if he envisages a change in his relationship with Rosberg should they end up going head-to-head for the title, Hamilton said: "Everyone's talking about the relationship between us, it will be the same at the start as it will be at the end. We've been racing together since we were 13, we've been in championships competing right to the end, one where he's won, one where I've won and it's been the same since... It's a more fierce championship and a lot more is riding on it but at the end, I don't see any issues.

Check out our Thursday gallery, here.

Chris Balfe

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