F1 2014 Australian Grand Prix: Hamilton fires out warning

The 2014 Formula One World Championship gets underway in Melbourne next week with the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, and Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton is looking to win the drivers’ title for a second timeAfter a strong winter testing programme, the 29-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas racer from Hertfordshire will line-up for the season-opening race around the Albert Park circuit next Sunday (March 16).
The 2008 F1 world champion was fastest on the final day of testing in Bahrain earlier this month and will be one of the favourites to take the chequered flag in Australia.
Hamilton said: “The Australian Grand Prix is always an exciting race and the fans are fantastic. They love their motorsport, so it’s an event that every driver looks forward to.
“I’m excited about the new season, not just as a driver but as a fan. 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.”
While the winter programme may have offered a glimpse of Formula One in 2014, Melbourne provides the acid test.
There have been a series of regulation changes during the winter, not least the switch to V6 Hybrid cars, but Mercedes’ power unit has been the most reliable during testing.
On the Silver Arrows’ preparations for the first race of the season, Hamilton said: “I think we’re as ready as we can be for Melbourne and I’m more fired up than ever.“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.”
Hamilton’s Mercedes colleague Nico Rosberg is also looking forward to the F1 curtain-raiser, with first practice on Friday, March 14.
The German said: “Melbourne is a fantastic city and Australia is an exciting country all round. It’s a great place to start the year and you can always have lots of fun here.“This year, after completing the final test in Bahrain, I returned to the factory at Brackley for final preparations in the simulator and went straight on to Melbourne from there.”
Rosberg added: “Overall, I think our winter testing programme went better than expected. Having said that, the first Grand Prix is the first real opportunity to judge how well we have done against our competition.
“Pre-season doesn’t tell the full story, especially this year with the new regulations. I’m really looking forward to getting the season underway and can’t wait to be back in the car again.”
As widely demonstrated during pre-season, running a 2014 F1 car is a challenge in itself.