Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he is hoping that Red Bull Racing and Ferrari get their act together before too long, starting with next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.
The two F1 giants have been feeding off scraps so far in 2014, as Hamilton's Mercedes team dominated the first five races. The Briton has remained unbeaten in the last four outings, with team-mate Nico Rosberg picking up the season-opener in Australia, but is looking for the opposition to make more of a fight of it for the rest of the year.
With only Rosberg running him close of late – the German could conceivably have won both Bahrain and Spain in the past few weeks – Hamilton only took over at the top of the championship standings with victory in Barcelona, and knows that the other expected frontrunners can play an important part in his bid for a second F1 world title, but insists that there is no possibility of his own motivation wavering even with the extent of Mercedes' dominance.
“If I was leading every race by a long, long way, and not having to fight, then I could understand that motivation plateaus, but I've got my team-mate behind me,” he told journalists at this week's Barcelona test session, “My motivation is high and I'll be pushing as hard as I can to stay ahead of him. I just hope we'll soon have contenders [other than ourselves], as I need people to take points from my team-mate!”
Monaco could be particularly important for the 2008 champion, as Rosberg cruised to victory twelve months ago while Hamilton struggled to fourth place, some 13secs adrift of the German. Despite that, however, the former McLaren man insists that there is no overwhelming desire to 'put things right' this time around.
“I'm not really going there with the approach of putting things right,” he claimed, “I just want to keep doing the things I'm doing now. I'm not going to change anything, I'm going to approach it exactly the same as I have been [approaching the other races this year].
“Monaco is a track that I love driving, as do the other drivers, but last year we weren't able to get the most out of the car and I struggled with it. I'm feeling more confident this year - I've got work to do, but I'm on it! We've been pulling away for a few races now, so it should be the same everywhere, although maybe not as much at Monaco.”
Asked whether there was more trepidation going to the Principality with cars that have less grip and more power than of late, Hamilton suggested that there had been enough running in 2014 to give the drivers an idea of what to expect.
“It should be [a bigger test with these cars] but I'm sure that, when we get there, it'll be more normal for us as we've been driving them already this year,” he noted, “Proximity to the walls is going to be more of a concern as there are more oversteer moments this year, so it'll be interesting. It's definitely going to be different to last year, but we should be quick. I'm hoping there'll be more competition from Red Bull and Ferrari, so it should be good.”
Rosberg, meanwhile, pointed to the unpredictability of Monaco as reason not to expect another easy race against the rest of the field.
“Monaco is so different that it's impossible to know,” he opined, “Saying that though, we have such a great car in all aspects and I'm sure it'll be quick in Monaco also.
“We just need to keep pushing. Our mission is to extend the gap, which we managed to do in Barcelona, but we want to have more so we're keeping on going, flat-out, for sure. The team is doing a great job, so we're very confident at the moment.”