'This is the year you need to watch Formula One!' enthuses 'fired up' Lewis Hamilton
"I can't wait to get started" declares new favourite for 2014 title
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 08/03/14 10:05am
Hamilton will travel to the season-opening Australian GP as the heavily-backed favourite to win both next Sunday's race and the 2014 Drivers' World Championship as the sport embarks on a revolutionary and eagerly-anticipated new turbo era.
However, the Mercedes driver is adamant that it's not just the potential of a second World Championship to add to his 2008 title that is inspiring him to count the hours until the lights to go out at Albert Park next Sunday morning.
"I'm excited about the new season not just as a driver but as a fan," declared a buoyant Hamilton.
"As a fan, you want to see overtaking throughout the field, you want to see different race winners, you want to see the championship go down to the wire... I hope that the changes for this year will make that happen. This is the year you need to watch Formula One!"
Hamilton and Mercedes impressed throughout winter testing, with the Englishman signing off in convincing style as he set the fastest time on the final day of pre-season running to complete a thoroughly satisfactory start to the year for the Silver Arrows outfit.
By common consent, the four Mercedes-powered teams - the works outfit for whom Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg drive, McLaren, Williams and Force India - will start the season with a clear advantage over the chasing pack, with reigning World Champions Red Bull currently struggling to extract either pace or reliability from their sickly new car, the RB10.
"I think we're as ready as we can be for Melbourne and I'm more fired up than ever," said Hamilton.
"With all the changes within the sport and the hard work that's been going on within the team, I believe this can be our year to really show what we're capable of. That's not to take anything away from our opposition, who will be incredibly tough to beat as always, but I feel like I'm equipped with the tools I need to succeed. I can't wait to get started."
And the wait is nearly over with Hamilton and his Mercedes outfit embarking on the 24-hour trip to Melbourne this weekend ahead of the first practice session of the season next Friday.
The Australian GP, exclusively live on Sky Sports F1, commences at 6am UK time on Sunday March 16.