Lewis Hamilton has said that both he and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team can always improve, despite winning twelve races on their way to both titles in 2017.
Hamilton, who now enters the 2018 season as a four-times champion hailed “an amazing season” but noted that a season is only perfect when you win every race.
“It’s been an amazing season but by no means a perfect one.” the Brit told Mercedes’ title sponsors Petronas in an exclusive interview.
“There are always areas you can improve on. I won nine races and Valtteri [Bottas] won three, but there are 20 races, and a perfect season is when you win every single one of them.”
“But it’s a positive thing, because it means you can always improve. It was definitely one of the strongest seasons we’ve ever had.”
Hamilton, who turns 33 on Sunday, acknowledged Mercedes’ inconsistent start to the season – a time where Scuderia Ferrari announced their return to competitiveness after an overly disappointing 2016 campaign.
“The beginning of the season was a little bit up and down, but the second part of the season was very consistent.”
However, he was eager to praise the reliability of the W08 EQ Power+ and noted that his race starts – an issue that cost him multiple times in 2016 – became less of a problem.
“Reliability has been the best it has ever been. In terms of my performance, my starts were much better this year, and I was much more comfortable with this year’s car so that I was able to extract a lot more from it race by race.”
Hamilton believes that he can add a fifth world crown in 2018 and will approach the year with his usual headstrong mentality.
“When I arrived for the first race [I felt I could win]. That’s my mindset every season. I have that same mindset now for next year,” he said.
When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship. It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset.”
“If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win.”
Looking ahead, Hamilton mused on a potential four team battle at the top of the order, with his old team, the McLaren Formula 1 Team, now boasting Renault engines after a dire three year reconciliation with Honda. Additionally, Hamilton believes that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing will not repeat their sluggish start to 2017.
“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship.”
“I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again. We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forwards.”