Lewis Hamilton says he is "more fired up than ever" about the start of the new F1 season.

Mercedes has enjoyed a strong pre-season, being consistently quick and completing the most mileage of all 11 teams. With the Mercedes power unit strong, the team has emerged as one of the favourites for victory at the Australian Grand Prix and Hamilton admits he feels like everything is in place for him to challenge for the championship this year.

"The Australian Grand Prix is always an exciting race and the fans are fantastic," Hamilton said. "They love their motorsport, so it's an event that every driver looks forward to. I'm excited about the new season not just as a driver but as a fan. As a fan, you want to see overtaking throughout the field, you want to see different race winners, you want to see the championship go down to the wire... I hope that the changes for this year will make that happen. This is the year you need to watch Formula One!

"I think we're as ready as we can be for Melbourne and I'm more fired up than ever. With all the changes within the sport and the hard work that's been going on within the team, I believe this can be our year to really show what we're capable of. That's not to take anything away from our opposition, who will be incredibly tough to beat as always, but I feel like I'm equipped with the tools I need to succeed. I can't wait to get started."

However, team-mate Nico Rosberg was more reserved, saying he is remaining wary of where Mercedes stands until after the first race.

"Overall, I think our winter testing programme went better than expected. Having said that, the first Grand Prix is the first real opportunity to judge how well we have done against our competition. Pre-season doesn't tell the full story, especially this year with the new regulations. I'm really looking forward to getting the season underway and can't wait to be back in the car again."



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