Lewis Hamilton may have taken his first pole position for the AMG Mercedes F1 team and finished on the podium for the second race in succession, but refuses to get carried away with dreams of battling for the 2013 world championship.
The Briton left last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix sitting fourth in the standings, twelve points off Sebastian Vettel and nine behind Shanghai racewinner Fernando Alonso, but admits that his new team still has work to do before he will consider himself a genuine contender for the title.
"I definitely feel like [I'm in the fight] at the moment, but I'm not focusing on the title,” he was quoted by sportinglife.com
, “Look at what happened to [Mercedes team-mate] Nico [Rosberg]…. He didn't finish, which is something that could happen to me at any time. It can happen to anyone. Fernando didn't finish the last race [in Malaysia]…”
Acknowledging that the Spaniard 'has otherwise scored high points and is looking very strong', Hamilton also singled out the winner of the opening round in Melbourne as a likely season-long threat, along with the expected challenge of three-time champion Sebastian Vettel.
"Lotus has a very reliable car, and Kimi [Raikkonen] is on it, doing the job, which is not surprising for me,” he admitted, "We're hanging on by the skin of our teeth at the moment, but we're also doing the job. We've a lot of work to do to improve reliability and pace, but we're on it. Let's hope we can maintain this kind of performance throughout the year. As [team principal] Ross [Brawn] said, we're not quite there yet, but we're not far away."
Despite turning pole position into third place at the chequered flag, however, Hamilton remained positive about his Shanghai performance.
"We're really happy with what we did,” he insisted, “It just shows how we have improved so much - to be disappointed with a third is a real fortunate position to be in.
"It was a good weekend, a good pole and, of course, I would love to have won, but we weren't as quick as the Ferraris. If we didn't have some of the issues we had with the front wing then maybe I might have been able to overtaken the Lotus, but it was still very quick.
"We're really grateful for what we have, [but] we just have to keep our feet on the ground because we've still a lot of work to do."