Hamilton relaxed despite mentor's departure

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Lewis Hamilton insists the tag of world champion has allowed him to relax heading into the new Formula One season.

Hamilton will take to the wheel of McLaren's new challenger, the MP4-24 that was unveiled today at the team's Technology Centre in Woking, for the first time on Wednesday at the Algarve Motor Park.



That will be 81 days after he was crowned F1 king, taking the title in dramatic circumstances on the final lap of the last race in Brazil.



In some respects, the wraps coming off the car were overshadowed by the announcement of Ron Dennis that he is to step down as team boss on 1 March, allowing long-time right-hand man and CEO Martin Whitmarsh to take up the reins.



Dennis is adamant he is not retiring, and will instead be focusing more of his time and efforts on other projects within the company.



The 61-year-old will still be attending grands prix, although with Whitmarsh making the final decision on matters.



It ensures a degree of continuity, and so little will change behind the scenes so far as Hamilton is concerned in his bid to attempt to retain the championship he won by a single point from Felipe Massa.



"I don't think there is any added pressure just because I'm now world champion," insisted Hamilton.



"In fact, I feel more relaxed going into the season simply because I'm coming off a great season.



"It is like when you go from race to race in that when you win one race, at the next you've extra confidence.



"I feel I have reset my goals, and reset my targets back to when I started in Formula One in that I want to be world champion.



"I don't sit here saying 'I am world champion'. I sit here saying 'I want to be world champion'."



Such an ambition is undoubtedly going to be more difficult for the 24-year-old this season than for past champions due to the raft of new regulations imposed for the coming campaign.



The revamped aerodynamics, with a wider front wing and raised rear to aid overtaking, the new kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), a return to slick tyres, and a ban on in-season testing, ensure the teams head into the year facing the unknown.



No one is sure as to who will have made the most of the new rules, with Hamilton adding: "Because we have a completely new car, a new package, I've sat down more with the engineers of late.



"It is like the preparation I had for 2007. I am understanding the differences in the suspension, KERS and all the safety aspects.



"But also the vital few tests we have, I have like only seven days in the car, and so we are going to make sure we really extract the most from those days.



"Hopefully we don't have any reliability problems, and we have been very, very fortunate in the past.



"In two years we have not had any reliability issues, so I am confident the team have done a great job."



The one area in which Hamilton feels he can improve is by making less mistakes, such as running into the back of Kimi Raikkonen in the pit lane in Montreal last season.



"I analysed the mistakes I made last year, for example in Montreal with the pit lane light," remarked Hamilton.



"Every time I now go down the pit lane I am always looking out for the light. You just have to learn from the previous experiences.



"I am sure there will be some experiences this year that will take you by surprise, and you are always learning. I am sure the oldest man in the world is still learning today.



"We just have to make sure we try to prepare ourselves in advance and try and avoid any mistakes."



Mentor Dennis, though, will now only be flitting in and out of the F1 picture over the coming years.



However, Dennis' decision allowed Hamilton to offer his thanks to a man who gave him his opportunity in the sport, and has nurtured him since the age of 13.



"Ron is a huge part of the team," remarked Hamilton.



"He has racing in his blood, so he will never leave. He will always play a part, and I will always remain close to him.



"I've known him since I was 10. We have a great relationship, and he has made a huge impact on my life - and he still does today - and we are great friends.



"But the great thing is we have great people in the team. It is a huge team, and we are very powerful together.



"It is not as if we are going to struggle. We are very fortunate that we will stay a strong team."



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
News
i100
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
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

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment