Lewis Hamilton has fired an early shot in the mental war ahead of this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, suggesting that his upbringing is more suited to the fight for the F1 world championship.

The Briton moved to the head of the drivers' standings in Spain, having claimed his fourth win in as many races, and the delay in overhauling Rosberg was only delayed by a DNF in the opening round that left Hamilton with a 25-point deficit to make up. Even though Rosberg has since finished second to his team-mate on four occasions, Hamilton has now seized control and, perhaps more importantly, held off the German in head-to-head battles in both Bahrain and Barcelona.

Heading to Monaco, Rosberg is expected to hold the upper hand - and both drivers have headed the timed session leading up to qualifying in recent weekends - by dint of his win in the Principality twelve months ago, but there are a few in the paddock who doubt that the German has the steel to fight for the title should Hamilton keep up his own challenge.

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The Briton, having had that question put to him, didn't necessarily dismiss his team-mate, but had his own take on their respective situations.

"Let me tell you this," Hamilton told the official F1 website, "I come from a not-great place in Stevenage and lived on a couch in my dad's apartment - and Nico grew up in Monaco with jets and hotels and boats and all these kind of things - so the hunger is different.

"I want to be the hungriest guy in the cockpit from all 22 of us - even if every driver has to believe that he's the hungriest - because if I were to come here believing that Nico is hungrier than me then I might as well go home. I've got to be the hungriest - to win the world championship you need to be the hungriest.

"When I won the championship [in 2008], I was pretty much used to winning championships, as I'd won championships in previous years. Now, though, it's been several years since I won the championship - and it feels brand new."

Both Hamilton and Rosberg find themselves in the enviable position of having the best car in the field in 2014, and the Briton - keen to show that his 2008 title with McLaren was no one-off - is aware that he needs to grasp the nettle while the chance is there.

"It is all about grabbing the opportunity when you have it," he confirmed, before suggesting that he has potential in reserve if needed, "I would have never dreamed of having a car as good as I have now, so I will use it to my best advantage. But I have a team-mate who is pushing me to the limit. Fortunately for the moment that's not so bad - because I am not so bad on the limit."

Hamilton also played down suggestions that being in such a dominant position car-wise may cast a shadow on any potential title, and admitted that he was grateful to have a team-mate able - and allowed - to fight him every inch of the way.

"Every driver would die to be in our position, in our team," he agreed, "But just look back... for four years it was Sebastian [Vettel], for several years it was Michael [Schumacher], for several years it was Ayrton [Senna]...

"But I would want to be known for fighting. Even if we are a dominating team, I don't beat my team-mate by 40 seconds. Take the last race: it was six-tenths between us at the flag, which hasn't been often the case with the winner in the past four years. I want to be known for racing."

Despite the growing rivalry on track, however, Hamilton believes the former karting team-mates will remain friends off it.

"When you're so competitive, it is impossible to be best friends - but then it stays respectful," he explained, "We will always have the years in karting, that kind of foundation of a long time ago..."


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Why oh why doesn't his management team stop him coming out with rubbish like this?

Maybe they should have a poster made up to stick on every room he sleeps in

"First job of the day - engage brain before opening mouth"