Lewis Hamilton says he is “absolutely” looking forward to battling his way back in the Chinese Grand Prix and that his target is to get into the points.
Hamilton has had a tough weekend, and after picking up a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, he had more problems on Saturday, with an ERS issue preventing him from posting a time in qualifying.
Hamilton will now need a fresh engine for the race, but despite having to start last remains remarkably chipper.
“Absolutely,” he replied, when asked if he is looking forward to fighting his way through the field in the grand prix. “This is how it was when I first started racing. Some of the kids around me had the best equipment and we were right at the back or we got punted out and I was sent to the back, and I used to battle my through the field. So it is reminiscent of the younger days and something I really enjoyed.
“There hasn't been a race where I haven't started from the back and enjoyed. As long as you see the distance and that's coming here, being here for a week, I think I probably speak for all the drivers in saying that going the distance is probably the first thing you want to do. That means going through the whole race and getting into a battle, getting into some wheel-to-wheel battles, losing ground and gaining ground and that whole emotional rollercoaster that you get to travel through.”
Hamilton also reiterated that he doesn't particularly take any encouragement from the fact the last time he started at the back, in Hungary in 2014, he came through to grab third.
“I take encouragement from driving a long time so I have had the experiences when I was young,” he explained. “There is no question on my mind on how I'm going to get my way through tomorrow, but you never know because it's a different track with different climate and different demand on the tyres.
“So whether or not we can get all the way up to third I think that's going to be a very tough challenge for sure. You've got the Red Bull's who are quick, the two Ferrari's and [my team-mate] Nico [Rosberg] so just getting into points is my goal.”
Asked how he can be so relaxed, especially given he has not exactly had an ideal start to the new season, the Briton stressed how it is still early days.
“There is a long way to go, so there is no reason to be stressed about it or reason to dwell on what just happened. All I can do is try and shape the future so that's really what I'm putting my energy towards,” he stressed.
“Do you know I'm just taking it one day at a time? What you could say is I could've had the problem tomorrow in the race, so in hindsight I'm glad that it's all happened now and I can still grab some points tomorrow and don't have the gearbox problem for the next race.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton defended his decision to start from the grid as opposed to the pits: “Basically if you start from the pit lane you end up 8 seconds behind the last car and I've already got enough ground to recover so I'm not giving myself an 8 second penalty,” he reasoned.
“Sometimes it can be more then it but depending on how quickly…. There are pros and cons for both, you know the pit lane is a safer way but you just have to catch up the 8 seconds. But if you start from the grid all kinds of commotion can happen, you've got to stay out of trouble but that's more exiting and I like to go with exciting,” he summed-up..