Mar 4, 2014, 11:48 AM EST
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg seem to be the early favorites for the Australian Grand Prix in a little under two weeks.
Hamilton admitted in a Q&A with the Formula One official website he enjoyed the Bahrain test more than any other in his career, and not just because of the team’s pace.
“These have been my favorite tests – simply because we’ve been in Bahrain,” he said. “These were the nicest two weeks I ever had in testing in terms of weather and in terms of how you’re treated and received in a country. And the track is far greater than Jerez or Barcelona. It really has been a pleasure to be here.”
Still, as most teams opt to do if they’re setting the bar in testing, Mercedes is downplaying their chances. Hamilton took the chance to say as much and recite the “we don’t know where everyone stands” line.
“Yeah, it is good going into a season – to the first race – knowing that we have covered the most miles, we probably are one of the most put-together teams in terms of the car working, a good mileage under our belts and a happy spirit,” he said. “We are driven to fight for the championship – that all is super positive.
“But let’s keep the feet on the ground: right now – even if all indications look great – it is still difficult to know who is hot and who is not. You go to Australia not knowing who the hell will be in the lead. Reliability will be a huge factor – for every single person in the team. For everyone.”
He said this year’s race should be wide open.
“It will be a bit of a mix and match in the first few races,” he explained. “Probably some good surprises for the fans – and for us. Maybe a bit of a deja-vu of 2012 when there was a different winner at the first couple of races.”
Hamilton, now 29, has traditionally done well in Australia. He’s finished on the podium four different times, including his 2008 win in a race littered with retirements. A fifth podium achieved in 2009 was eliminated when he was disqualified after the race when it was revealed he and the McLaren team had misled the stewards about a position battle with Jarno Trulli.
Any winner would be a change of pace from Sebastian Vettel, who won the last nine Grands Prix of 2013.
Video from NASCAR America
- 2014 F1 championship showdown preview: Lewis Hamilton 0
- Hamilton quickest in second practice for Abu Dhabi GP 0
- First blood to Hamilton in Abu Dhabi as he tops FP1 0
- F1 Paddock Pass: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (VIDEO) 0
- The F1 champ is crowned on NBCSN from Abu Dhabi this weekend 0
- Alonso: My next move won’t be a surprise for anybody 0
- Will the weight of expectation prove to be too great for Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi? 1