Hamilton refuses to rest on laurels

The Bolton News: Lewis Hamilton dominated both practice sessions on Friday (AP) Lewis Hamilton dominated both practice sessions on Friday (AP)

A dominant Lewis Hamilton is refusing to get carried away and believe a second Formula One title is his for the taking this season.

Following a hat-trick of successive wins for the first time in his F1 career, Hamilton is red-hot favourite to make it four in a row after emerging quickest in practice for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton was almost half a second quicker than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, with the rest virtually nowhere.

Even though rival teams are boasting major upgrade packages to their cars, Mercedes still appear in a class of their own.

At this early stage it appears inconceivable Hamilton or Rosberg will not win the title, but the Briton is not resting on his laurels.

He said: "We're only 20 per cent of the way into the season.

"We've a long, long way to go before we see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We can't get ahead of ourselves too early on, so we'll take it one race at a time, which is what we're doing.

"Renault may all of a sudden pick up some pace with their engine, others might improve their cars. You just don't know what to expect.

"But what we can guarantee is we'll be giving it everything we've got. If we have a gap we're going to try to maximize it."

If Hamilton can make it four consecutive victories with a maiden win in Barcelona, he will then have F1 history on his side.

A driver who has won four races in a row in one season - and it has happened on 19 previous occasions - has gone on to win the title that year.

Despite that, Hamilton said: "I've not really thought about it, just as I didn't think about the opportunity to win three (in a row).

"It will be amazing if we manage to do it, especially as I've never won here in Barcelona, a track which I really enjoy driving.

"I'm just hoping this weekend we have another shot at winning, and we get a good race out of it as well.

"To come here and say, 'Four in a row, if I get that, I'll win the championship', is a load of bull. I don't focus on that.

"I focus on the job in hand. I'm trying to do the same as I have done every race weekend - improve on the areas I can and hope we have another strong weekend.

"At some stage you're going to have a bad weekend, but that can't affect the rest of your year.

"You just have to come up with the correct approach, take one step at a time, get the car where you need it to be and remain focused on trying to get that win, that pole position.

"And if it doesn't come together then you analyse."

Whereas Hamilton is riding the crest of a wave at the moment, four-times champion Sebastian Vettel suffered another low on Friday.

Vettel had most of the day off as his Red Bull incurred a wiring loom fault after four laps of the first session which then sidelined him for all of the second.

Vettel said: "We had to change the chassis loom, which is a big job so I wasn't able to go out in the afternoon - a small failure, but a big consequence.

"There was nothing new on that part of the car, just something new that happened in that area.

"Luckily it happened today (rather than tomorrow), but unfortunately we lost the chance to prepare for Sunday with two cars.

"So I have to rely on what Daniel (Ricciardo) did today and get into the rhythm straight away."

Ricciardo was third quickest overall, but almost a second behind Hamilton's pace, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso 1.5secs adrift in fourth.

McLaren's Jenson Button, second quickest on the hard compound tyre in the morning session, dropped to seventh fastest on the quicker medium rubber, a staggering 2.3secs behind Hamilton.

As for Marussia's Max Chilton, on a run of 23 consecutive finishes, his second session was a troubled one in which he was plagued by engine trouble before beaching his car in the gravel late on to finish 19th and 5.6secs down.

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