'I feel like I'm maturing' - Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton believes he has now reached a level of maturity that will start to show through in his performances this year.
Hamilton is entering his eighth year in Formula One this year and starts the season as favourite after Mercedes' impressive pre-season testing campaign. In recent years he has struggled to match the pace of Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull and last year regularly said he was not driving at his best, but ahead of the start of the new season he believes a new level of maturity will shine through.
"I'm 29 now," he said. "It feels like a long, long time since I started - I'm starting to get with the older guys - and I feel like I'm maturing. So hopefully that will show in my results, my performances, the things I say and do. I'm still young at heart and I'm sure I'll make some mistakes along the way, but that's part of life.
"I've had bumps along the way, but I always feel like I've bounced back from them. It's not how you fall, it's how you get back up, so through all those experiences you just brush the dirt off your shoulder and you keep going.
"I'm still enjoying my life, and my family and I are in a position we never thought we'd be, coming from a one-bedroom flat in Hatfield. So we're embracing the opportunity, I'm embracing it. I feel very fortunate to be here, amongst these drivers, driving for Mercedes. It's just a dream."
He believes it is too early to start talking about winning the title, but knows he is heading into the season in a strong position.
"Everyone is talking us up and predicting the future, but we really can't say what's going to happen this weekend. We know we're strong, we've left no stone unturned, we've done absolutely everything we could possibly do.
"We're hoping we'll be at the front, that's our goal, but we can't say it's going to be the case. So coming here, knowing this is going to be the best chance I have over the years, I don't know, I haven't even got in the car and raced yet.
"I had a good year in 2012 which was a strong year, and I probably had an opportunity in 2010 which I didn't optimise on, so I've had some chances in the past. It is a long, long year, and a long time since I won the world championship. It feels like a long time ago.
"But I'm still here and a lot more motivated from when I was before, more focused than ever before. So if the package is there then we will do the job, and there's no reason why we can't fight at the front again."
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