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Hamilton seeks level playing field

NEWS STORY
02/03/2018

One would imagine that as he heads off for the weekend, in his mind's eye, Lewis Hamilton is already preparing a space in his trophy cabinet for the fifth title that will put him alongside Juan-Manuel Fangio.

Despite only completing 94 laps over the course of the opening test, compared to his teammate's 212, the Briton left Barcelona last night aware that he has an overall advantage of 0.34 over Sebastian Vettel and on harder tyres.

However, talking to reporters at the end of a performance that could only be described as ominous, the Briton insists that he wants to be challenged and seeks a more level playing field.

“Definitely the closer it is the better it is when you win," he grinned. "You want the guys you are racing with on a level playing field so you can really show the differences between us as drivers. You want to be able to show that and it's magnified if the cars are all the same."

All of which harks back to the Briton's joy early last season when he clearly had a challenge on his hands from outside the Mercedes garage, until the red mist, over enthusiasm and poor reliability saw Sebastian Vettel's challenge fade into the dust.

Back then Hamilton revelled in the prospect of going head-to-head with another multi-champion, the pair displaying a mutual admiration that we all knew couldn't last.

Asked if he might play on Vettel's propensity for the red mist, as clearly witnessed in Baku, Hamilton replied: "Honestly I just don't focus too much on anyone else. I think ultimately for me and my mind-set, if I am at my best then I should have no problems. That's how I approach it.

"If I prepare myself in the best way and am as fit as I can be and I have the most energy and I'm feeling healthy, I've come with the right approach, I'm working hard, then I truly believe I won't have any problems," he added. "That's generally what all the drivers will think. That's what you have to think.

"It's the same for a tennis player at their best," he continued. "I'm sure if you asked Federer, he will truly believe that if he's trained hard and arrived feeling great, there's no-one that can touch him. You have to be convinced that will be the case. That's what you work towards. I don't prepare myself and then hope that the next guy has issues so I can capitalise on them, I want him to be at his best because then it's more painful for them when you do out-perform them."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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