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Hamilton: We have to hit the ground running

NEWS STORY
03/07/2020

If he is to win a title that, in his own words, would be worth "more than ever", Lewis Hamilton appreciates that he has to be setting the pace straight out of the box.

"If you look at previous seasons I think we have started the season perhaps not as strong as we have hoped," he told Sky Sports, "and then we get stronger and stronger through the year.

"We don't have time for that this year," he continued, "we have to hit the ground running.

"It will be a struggle," he admitted. "It's going to be the most challenging season I think we have ever faced and will ever face. But that's what we live for. We exist to be confronted with challenges and face it head on."

While little is expected of Ferrari, Charles Leclerc claiming that the Italian team is "99% sure" it will be struggling more than last year, Hamilton can expect Red Bull and Max Verstappen to mount a challenge to Mercedes superiority.

"They looked quite strong through testing," he admitted. "Red Bull particularly seemed closest to us from our understanding.

"Max is progressing year on year," he added, "so I'm anticipating they're going to be strong competitors.

"They're always very strong at this track so definitely going to be a challenge these two weekends. I'm excited to see how it goes."

Mercedes arrives in Austria with an upgrade engine following a number of issues encountered in pre-season testing. Asked if he is confident the team is on top of the problem, Hamilton told reporters: "We've not been terrible, but it is a challenging circuit with the height of the circuit, the temperatures that we see.

"We've arrived here previously and it's usually kind of not in the perfect window of operating temperatures for our car," he continued. "But I'd like to think we're in a better position this year with improvements that we've made for this season's car. So, time will tell."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Spielberg, here.

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