Lewis Hamilton says he is eager to build on his results to date with Mercedes as he heads into the fourth round of the new F1 season this weekend in Bahrain.
Hamilton has secured two podium finishes thus far since his switch from McLaren and also clinched his first pole in Mercedes colours last weekend in China.
It means the Briton heads to Bahrain this weekend sitting fourth in the championship standings and while he inssited there is room for improvement, the 2008 title winner said he was eager to see what he could achieve when he hits the track at the Sakhir circuit.
“The weekend in China was really positive for both me and the team,” he said. “With each race, I am becoming more settled in the team and more comfortable in my car, and we were very happy with the pole and podium finish. There are some areas where we need to improve to close that gap to the fastest cars and we're working hard to identify and develop those.
“There's a limit to what we can do before Bahrain but I'll be talking to my engineers before we arrive at the circuit and seeing where we can improve in the short term. The Bahrain circuit is a real challenge, particularly for the tyres with overheating and also the sand on the track, but this helps to make it unique.
“The layout has a great combination of fast, slow and medium corners which make it tough for the drivers and the car, so it will be a true test for us. I can't wait to get back in the car and see what we can do."
Team boss Ross Brawn admitted that the Bahrain race would be a good indicator of where Mercedes sits in the title race, with the Sakhir event set to provide a different challenge to the three races that have gone before.
“With three race weekends under our belts, Bahrain will be the final race of the season-opening quartet,” he said. “With very different track conditions at each venue, this should give us a good understanding of the car that we have to work with for the rest of the season.
“The performances so far have been pleasing and perhaps even beyond our pre-season expectations however there is work to be done. We have two main areas to focus on; we must improve the reliability and we have to lift our performance to find that extra couple of tenths to our fastest competitors. And of course, that's a moving target to make the challenge even tougher.
“A strong two car finish will be our target this weekend, and we want to see both Nico and Lewis in a position to score not only points but podiums regularly. We've had a taste of success already this season and the slight feeling of disappointment with third place in China is our motivation.”