Lewis Hamilton may have triumphed at the end of the 2014 F1 season, but did so having made the worst possible start to his championship campaign.

Despite qualifying on pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, the Briton's race lasted just two laps before he was forced into retirement, and he could only watch as Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg opened up an immediate 25-point advantage with victory on the streets of Melbourne.

Although Hamilton recovered that deficit, and did so a second time when the margin was bigger later in the season, the Briton is keen to ensure that he is not playing catch-up from the opening round of 2015, which kicks off the championship trail at Albert Park on Sunday.

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"I don't see a particular exaggerated importance [compared] to any other time [but] of course you come here and you'd like to start on the right foot, as I did last year," he admitted, "But there is a long, long way to go, so it's not the most important start of the year."

Having clinched his second world crown last season, Hamilton is now just one title shy of equalling the haul of his childhood hero Ayrton Senna and that will help drive him on in the face of renewed opposition from team-mate Rosberg this year.

"I would say that I always wanted to do what Ayrton did," Hamilton conceded, "Ayrton was my favourite driver and I guess, as a kid, I always wanted to emulate him."

While comparing himself to Senna does not appear to place extra pressure on Hamilton's shoulders, the Briton - who was dismayed to find himself the oldest driver in Thursday's FIA press conference - will still race with some uncertainty hanging over his future with Mercedes, as the two parties have yet to agree on the terms of a new agreement. Hamilton confirmed, however, that while there is still no signature in place, talks are progressing.

"Toto [Wolff] gave you guys some answers this morning, and I don't really know what to say," the Briton noted, saying he hoped to be able to do a deal sooner rather than later, "It's going good [but] it's not signed yet."