x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Lewis Hamilton looks to move on from Australia frustration

The Briton is confident that McLaren-Mercedes will be strong in Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR // Lewis Hamilton, the McLaren-Mercedes driver, has dismissed suggestions his sombre mood following last week's Australian Grand Prix is proof he is yet to fully banish the inner demons that plagued him last season.

The Englishman started on pole in Melbourne after a scintillating lap during qualifying, but finished third behind teammate Jenson Button and the reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel in the race.

His post-race demeanour, which would have been more suited to a driver who crashed out rather than one who scored a podium in the season-opening race, raised eyebrows and saw some observers claim Button had attained a psychological advantage.

Yet Hamilton yesterday denied such claims and argued he was well within his rights to be feeling disconsolate.

"I had just worked massively hard over the winter, harder than I ever worked, and the result of the race didn't go the way I wanted it to," he said. "I think it was fair to be disappointed. I don't feel that I should have to disguise that.

"I don't like going backwards in my career. I went back two spaces in Melbourne. I want to make sure in the next race I am going forwards."

The second round of the season takes place this weekend at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia and Hamilton, who has never won there, with his best result being second place in 2007, reckons it could see McLaren be even more impressive than in Australia.

"Our car is quite good in the high speed corners as it was in Barcelona testing, although it is also quite good in the low speed stuff," he said.

"I think we should be quite competitive this week, and it should feel better than it did last time. I know this is a car I can definitely challenge for the title with.

"As for me, I definitely do feel as though I've got it in myself to go for the title."