Lewis Hamilton tells Sky Sports F1 he is hopeful of a grand prix victory in 2013
Lewis says he's in better shape than ever before for F1
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 25/04/13 9:43am
Speaking to Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle in an exclusive interview ahead of Sunday's Bahrain GP in which Hamilton exceeded expectations by wrestling his W04 from ninth on the grid to the chequered flag, the 2008 title winner expressed confidence he would be a victor this term despite Mercedes only winning a solitary race in the last three years.
"I am hopeful we can win this year, particularly as we have things coming in the pipeline with upgrades and improvements for the car," Hamilton, who scored his first Mercedes pole position earlier this month at Shanghai, declared. "In some places the degradation isn't going to be as bad [as in Bahrain] and I'm confident we can stay out front."
Excessive rear-tyre wear in the searing heat of Bahrain saw Mercedes struggle to stay with the frontrunners in the desert with Hamilton's pole-sitting team-mate Nico Rosberg retreating on race day from first to ninth at the chequered flag.
However, the need to nurse the fragile Pirelli has been a lament up and down the pitlane all season, and Hamilton is among those frustrated at having to compromise outright pace for tyre preservation.
"I love going flat out and getting on it, but that's just not the way it is now," the 2008 World Champion mused wistfully.
Yet while Hamilton has misgivings about the current state of F1, he has none about his decision to leave McLaren for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season.
"Everyone moves on and tries something new and I'm really enjoying it. But not because it is better - it's just different," Hamilton explained. "The team is different, there's a different set of people who l am really enjoying working with and it's a new set of challenges, which is what I wanted.
It shows. Hamilton's demeanour has been noticeably more relaxed this year, with the Englishman looking a picture of contentment both on and off the track.
"I feel more comfortable in my own skin. I just feel that each year I am getting better and better and growing. I've got a great personal team around me management-wise, things are good with the family, things are good with the girlfriend, things are good with the dog.
"Bit by bit you try to adjust things and make things better and I just feel that my approach, my fitness and my mind-set seems to be better than ever."