Hamilton: This isn't the start of the final chapter

Florence Fletcher
March 20, 2018

The new season gets under way here in Melbourne on Sunday, and Bottas, the 28-year-old Finn could prove to be defending champion Hamilton's fiercest title challenger if, as expected, Mercedes begin the year with the best package on the grid.

"Our drivers seem reasonably happy with our vehicle, but it remains to be seen how well it performs driven in anger", he said.

- Fernando Alonso (world champion in 2005 and 2006) and Kimi Raikkonen (2007) are enduring their worst winless streaks in F1.

A fifth consecutive title double would to equal a record set by Ferrari.

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"The reduction in the number of power-unit components means that reliability will again play an important role in 2018", he said. However, despite finishing the year with three victories, Bottas had a number of hard races as Lewis Hamilton wrapped up the drivers' championship and he believes he needs to remain more positive if he gets beaten by his teammate.

"We started talking about it but it's not really my priority at the moment", Hamilton said at a sponsor event, according to Spain's Diario Sport.

He would be only the third Formula One driver to have won the title more than four times.

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"It doesn't feel like the start of the final chapter, and I don't feel as though I am about to embark on my last contract", said Hamilton.

"I think consistency is definitely going to be the key".

Hamilton's team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, hopes to provide a tougher challenge compared to past year.

The man who replaced Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas, spent much of pre-season answering questions about how he plans to beat Hamilton after a mixed debut season at Mercedes in 2017. For sure I was beating myself up a lot past year when I was struggling but that's all part of the learning process and you always learn about yourself as well every season.

"I have a very high target for the year and if I can get to those targets, or even near, then I hope the future will be okay". That's it; it's completely up to me.

"I could stay another year or two, but if I'm going to be as excited as I am for a new season in two years time, I cannot really guess now", he added.

"Every driver, including my team-mate, will have some tougher weekends, myself too. That will be possibly the key".

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