Hamilton relishing new F1 season

Andover Advertiser: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is excited about the new formula one season Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is excited about the new formula one season

Lewis Hamilton claims to be more "pumped" ahead of the new Formula One season than he has previously felt during his career.

Hamilton's final day of testing on Sunday was a mixed affair as the 29-year-old spent almost the first four hours in the garage while Mercedes mechanics cured a gearbox problem.

Once on track, Hamilton posted the fastest lap of the day, and the second quickest over the eight days spent at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain, finishing just 0.020secs adrift of Williams' Felipe Massa.

With the season-opening Australian Grand Prix less than a fortnight away, Hamilton knows while he is in reasonable shape, there remain concerns as the new regulations have thrown up many issues.

"There's so much to learn with these new cars," said Hamilton.

"It's just mind-blowing and I don't think anybody can be fully ready for the challenge of this season.

"The further we get into the year the better our understanding of the car, the power unit, the tyres and everything else will be.

"But there will undoubtedly be mistakes along the way for everyone and we just have to hope we make the least.

"I feel as ready as I can be, and I'm looking forward to seeing where we are in Melbourne."

Mercedes have, however, enjoyed a strong pre-season, with Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg helping the team complete more kilometres than any of their rivals.

It is why Hamilton has been installed as title favourite by a number of bookmakers, and why he has a strong chance of adding to his only crown won in 2008.

Hamilton is certainly ready for the challenge as he said: "A lot of hours have been put into this package by the people at both Brackley (team headquarters) and Brixworth (engine headquarters), and I'm really proud to be part of that.

"I was happy with the progress we made just to get to Jerez (for the first test) and we've continued to move forwards from there. It's been a fantastic effort from the team.

"The goal is always to win the championship and this year I'm more pumped for it than ever.

"I feel confident the team is pushing hard to get us to the top and we've great people working on every area of what we do, so we have a fighting chance."

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