Bahrain Grand Prix 2014: Lewis Hamilton loves the uncertainty of new Formula One machines

2008 World Champion is keeping expectations in check ahead of the third race of the season

bahrain

Lewis Hamilton's Malaysian Grand Prix win last week was so dominant that he would be quite within his rights to be feeling the pressure already – or at least thinking positively about the rest of the season.

But such is the uncertainty surrounding the performance, reliability and capabilities of the cars, he is looking to Sunday's round in Bahrain – and beyond – with a completely open mind.

There was a time, he says, that you could predict the world champion straight after pre-season testing. But two races in – both won by Hamilton's team Mercedes – and with both Red Bull and Ferrari still finding their feet, the next race, let alone the drivers' championship, is anyone's guess.

"From one race to another somebody else wins and the expectation shifts, so it's irrelevant in that sense for me," Hamilton said of the pressure. "In the past, as soon as you'd test and you'd get to the first race and you knew you were one second down, you knew that it was going to be a real slog to win the World Championship.

"Then you'd get to the third race and the opposition are so far gone already, it would be such a long year after that. You don't give up, but it's a different feeling after that. The difference for me is that I find myself this season with a car knowing I can fight the other guys, and it's a great feeling."

According to Hamilton, two days in Dubai after last week's Malaysian Grand Prix were all it took for the euphoria of his first victory there to evaporate, and for reality to return. For the 2008 world champion a fast start to the season is a welcome return to form after last season's disappointments in his first year at Mercedes. However, he is taking nothing for granted and getting back down to the hard work.

"It wears off after a couple of days, and you go back to training," he admitted, as Bahrain prepares for its first night race. "You just want to be as hungry as you were previously."

Hamilton's old team-mate Jenson Button recently nominated him as his toughest partner, describing him as "superfast but very up and down emotionally".

"I would say what he said is quite accurate," Hamilton agreed. "I always wear my heart on my sleeve, and it gets me into trouble now and then, but you go through different experiences.

"I've always talked about trying to put the right pieces in place to get through my year in a positive way without having those spikes, and I feel like I might have found it. But you never know!" He broke off to laugh at himself. "Just being in Dubai for a couple of days was a huge low compared to the weekend and I'm there in the hotel, bored already and just wanting to get racing again!"

But though Mercedes are favourites here, Hamilton sees Red Bull and Ferrari coming up fast. He added: "Red Bull are very quick and also I can tell that Ferrari are good, they will both be a serious force to be reckoned with this year. Both have very good cars, Red Bull the more so."

Some suggest it is vital to garner points in these early races, but Hamilton disagreed. "I don't think it's more crucial now than it's going to be in the second half of the season, and the second half will be even harder," he said. "And those extra 18 points that Nico [team-mate Rosberg] has are going to take some time to catch up over the next races."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform