Lewis Hamilton says that the lack of a dominant driver or team so far in 2012 is making the current season one of the most enjoyable yet - and that it also gives him a great chance to claim his second world championship.

"There is a lot of pressure on all the teams, especially as we have this very close season so far," said the 2008 world champion.

"For me, all of this is a pleasant situation," Hamilton insisted at Barcelona this week. "This is exactly what we want - rather than two teams dominating and then having a chunk in the middle and one at the back. Fact is that it was not too easy during the last races to overtake a Williams or a Sauber.

"It is a very, very close season - you do not know whereabouts you lie," he added. "There have been some interesting wins this year already, but this is exactly how the season is going to be and hopefully it will become one of the most exciting ones also for the fans."

But Hamilton has not been one of the four different winners in the first four races of the season, and is hoping that will change soon - maybe even this weekend.

"I hope I can make it one for me, that's for sure," he said. "Here you have to be quick throughout the race. Generally we are quick in qualifying, and we need to keep this pace also for the race."

The return to Europe means that teams have been reunited with their factory staff back at headquarters, and the opportunity to roll out some more ambitious upgrades than they have been able to do over long distance while at the flyaway races in Asia and the Middle East.

"It is going to be interesting to see who has done better homework," said Hamilton. "The Ferraris may have brought a big update package for this race, which could give them a big step forward, but then again everyone could bring some very good updates."

Many of those upgrades have already been tried out at Mugello in a rare mid-season test session allowed by the FIA. Although Hamilton himself did not attend the tests, he was sure that they had helped McLaren with its overall technical progress.

"There are a lot of positives from that test in Mugello," he said, in contrast to the grumbles from many on pit road who have criticised Mugello as a waste of time and money. "Every test you have will have an impact. We have collected a lot of data, which has shown us why we have struggled at the last races. We also have a lot of data on our updates, and on how we can improve on the set-up and various different things in general."

Hamilton will be hoping that the testing will add to his performance at Barcelona, although he admitted that Friday practice at the Circuit de Catalunya had not proved particularly encouraging for him.

"I have to admit that it wasn't a particularly good day for me," he said. "I struggled a little bit with the set-up, but in the end it was nothing serious. The upgrades work pretty well, we have a good pace, particularly on the longs runs, so we know that we are in the fight.

"I had a bit of an inconsistency and it's very hard to pinpoint what exactly the problem is to change the set-up for the better," he added. "We will be going through the data trying to find where the most serious issues are and try to cut that for [qualifying]," he said, adding that the car already felt much better than it had for him in Bahrain.

With that in mind, he was heading into the race weekend in a positive frame of mind: "I am always smiling," he summed up.