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Modesty is not a characteristic that comes naturally to some, and Lewis Hamilton is certainly not part of that group.



The 33-year-old British driver likened himself to Roger Federer and declared that it would not be a problem for him to defeat Sebastian Vettel to this year’s Formula One world championship.

Perhaps part of that confidence comes from the fact that Hamilton completed the fewest number of laps throughout the week in Barcelona, but still emerged with the fastest lap.

The Mercedes star is gearing up for his assault on a fifth championship to join only Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as drivers who have won the F1 title on more than four occasions.

Similarly, Vettel also upped the ante on Thursday by claiming that he was more than ready to face all the challenges that Mercedes would throw at him this term and would ensure that Ferrari wins its first championship in more than a decade.

Hamilton, who fared very well when put under pressure last year, claimed that he was confident of delivering the same punishment in 2018.

“I don’t focus too much on anyone else and my mindset is that if I am at my best then I should have no problems,” Hamilton said.

“That is how I will approach the season. If I prepare the best, I am the fittest I can be, I have the most energy, feel healthy, come with the right approach and work hard, I truly believe I won’t have any problems.

“It is the same for a tennis player at their best. I am sure if you ask Federer he will believe that if he is playing hard and feels great there is no one that can touch him.

“You have to be convinced that is the case. I don’t prepare by hoping the other guy has issues so I can capitalise. I want him to be at his best so it is more painful when you do out-perform them.”

Once again, Valtteri Bottas will partner Hamilton after the Silver Arrows decided to offer him a one-year contract extension after his debut season last campaign.

While he didn’t seem likely to topple Hamilton at any point during his first season at Mercedes, Bottas has spoken about renewed confidence this week and a genuine aim to lift the world title.

“Do I think Valtteri will be harder to beat? No,” Hamilton added. “It is difficult coming to a new team, learning new ways and new controls.




“But he has got through the learning process so he will hit the ground running this year and there are no more excuses.

“He did a great job at the last couple of races in 2017, Do I expect him to be closer this year? I have to assume he is in the best shape possible, but so am I.”

Hamilton will return to action on Tuesday in the concluding four-day test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya before opening the defence of his title in Melbourne on March 25.

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