Hamilton hoping to seize the edge
3:04pm Wednesday 16th April 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Lewis Hamilton is hoping his recent victory in Bahrain has delivered a psychological blow to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg as they scrap over this year's Formula One world title.
Three grands prix into the new campaign and the Mercedes duo clearly have the edge, with Rosberg taking the chequered flag in the season-opening race in Australia, whilst Hamilton emerged triumphant in the two events that followed in Malaysia and Bahrain.
It is Rosberg who has an 11-point lead, though, after Hamilton failed to score Down Under following an early technical failure.
However, the German will almost certainly have come away from Bahrain believing he should have widened the gap between himself and Hamilton as circumstances played into his hands late on in that race.
But Hamilton produced a brilliant defensive drive over the closing 10 laps to keep Rosberg at bay and clinch back-to-back victories for the first time in almost four years
It was a crucial strike from Hamilton so early in the campaign, one that may yet impact on Rosberg.
Ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton said: "You are always trying to get that (psychological) edge.
"I did it during all three practice sessions (when Hamilton was the quickest) but then all of a sudden it had disappeared in qualifying, and then he (Rosberg) was on a high (after taking pole position).
"It's swings and roundabouts. I guess it's about who is strongest. I can't say who is right now, but I'm trying to be as strong as I've ever been in my life.
"That's not just about arriving and working hard, it's about all the steps from now until the next race, all the decisions you make, the things in your life. They all add up as to where you are mentally.
"In this game it's not easy to gain momentum and to keep riding that as it goes up and down from session to session.
"He's already said he's going for it at the next race, so I have to make sure the work goes in.
"I'm still 11 points behind after two awesome races, so I have to stick at it because he's had a win and two seconds, a track record that so far is better than mine."
Hamilton was the one on the receiving end after Australia, but has since bounced back and now stands on the brink of winning three in a row for the first time in his F1 career.
"I took a bit of a knock in that first race. Jeez, I was 25 points down after that," reflected Hamilton.
"But in Bahrain, I really feel like I earned that result. There was no luck.
"It was as hard a race as I possibly could have had, and I came out on top, which is a huge testament to the work I'm putting in with these guys."
On numerous occasions the duo raced wheel-to-wheel with no quarter given, but throughout it all they battled hard and clean, much to the the relief of all within Mercedes.
The team have at least proved they are willing to let their drivers go head-to-head without interference, which was to their credit and answered many questions that had been raised this season.
Hamilton feels the team deserve considerable respect for being true to their beliefs.
"Paddy (Lowe, executive technical director) and Toto (Wolff, Mercedes motorsport boss) have both told us they want us to drive, but the primary goal is to get points for the team," added Hamilton.
"It's great they allowed us to fight, that they didn't get in the way of that.
"But if every single race is like that from now on, I can't guarantee both of us will come out happy.
"Working hard and respect for each other got us through that race, and I hope it will continue."