Three-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has issued a stark warning for rivals hoping that his ambition would have dimmed for 2016: There is more to come from me!
The Briton, who has won back-to-back titles for Mercedes in the past two years, admitted to letting his mind wander to other things once he had secured the 2015 crown in Austin but, just as team-mate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel could have been forgiven for thinking the 2016 season was theirs for the taking, Hamilton insists that he is as fired up as ever in search of crown number four.
Rosberg claimed each of the three races following Hamilton's title triumph in the USA, while both Vettel and Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen have felt the improvement in the Scuderia's latest offering, but the reigning champion - who could equal Vettel's title haul if he succeeds this season - says preparing for the forthcoming 21-race schedule has given him new motivation.
"I was at the factory last week and it was humbling to stand in front of everyone that has worked so hard to get us to this point," Hamilton admitted, "I've been with this team for four years now and, despite all the success, everyone just keeps raising the bar every season, which is super impressive.
"I know that the guys and girls will keep pushing for more top results, so it's up to us drivers to go out there and nail it for them on track. People keep asking me about motivation - but I just have to look at the faces of all those people to know what I'm fighting for."
With new rules on and off track, the seemingly rejuvenated threat from Ferrari and the sleeping giant status currently bestowed on the likes of Williams and Red Bull, Hamilton knows he can take nothing for granted in 2016.
"Together, we're always searching for perfection, but that target is always shifting and you're constantly faced with new challenges to reach it," he confirmed, "Just as you think you're close, suddenly you fall further back - like someone dangling a carrot on a piece of string and whipping it away just as you reach for it.
"It's tough mentally - but that's a good thing, as it forces you to be resilient and seek improvement in every area. There are a few things that will make it even more challenging for all of us this season - the changes to the radio rules will have a big impact, as the engineers now can't give you prompts or reminders that might affect performance during the race, so you have to remember so much more. This even applies to strategy, so when it's shifting throughout the race you won't be in the loop. It will be tough - but hopefully it will make for more exciting races.
"There certainly needs to be some extra in my tank, as the competition will be stronger than ever this year, [but] I know there's still more to come from me [and] I think I've shown that in the past two years."
If Hamilton needed any encouragement going into the season, it came in Barcelona, where the latest Mercedes offering, the W07, again proved the car to beat in pre-season.
"Testing was just incredible - the best I can remember in my career," the champion confirmed, "The car feels even better than last year's from both a performance and reliability perspective, which is saying something. It's all so refined in every area and we can be really proud of what we've achieved over the winter. Now we head to Melbourne and the first to chance to see how all this plays out on track. I can't wait to get started."