Lewis Hamilton has made a near-perfect start to the 2015 F1 season, but is already teeing up his next success as the season enters its first European phase.
The Briton is 27 points clear of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg after the completion of the four season-opening 'flyaways', with only Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel denying him a clean sweep of victories in that spell, but is well aware how quickly the points situation can change after making his own mid-season comeback in 2014. A three-week break between races has allowed everyone involved a chance to rest and refocus, and Hamilton knows that Rosberg – and the Ferrari duo of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen – will be looking to eat into his advantage from this weekend.
“Bahrain was a tough race, so to come away with the win was a great feeling,” he said of beating a charging Raikkonen to the line in round four, “It's amazing the start we've had this year [and], next up, it's Barcelona, which is a great place to start the European phase of the season.”
Having enjoyed two fruitful pre-season tests at the Circuit de Catalunya in February, Hamilton and Mercedes will return to Barcelona confident of picking up where they left off in Bahrain – and in Spain last year, where the reigning world champion finally found the top step of the podium after holding off a late charge from his team-mate.
“The weather is always good and the circuit is a real test of every aspect of the car, which is why we go testing there,” the Briton noted, “Racing there is tough - it's usually hot and the circuit is incredibly physical – but I always enjoy the weekend.
“The support I have in Spain is growing every time we go and, having tasted success there for the first time last year, I want to do it in even better style this time.”
For Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, the form of his two drivers is a constant at a time when teams will be bringing the first major technical upgrades of the season.
“One area where we can be totally confident is our driver line-up,” he confirmed, “Lewis is in the zone right now, probably driving as well as he has ever done, and Nico showed his teeth in Bahrain with some forceful overtaking and a strong, aggressive race. We're expecting more of the same in Spain....”