F1: Hamilton targets 2011 world title in McLaren MP4-26
PUBLISHED: 21:57 05 February 2011 | UPDATED: 09:53 16 February 2011
HOCH ZWEI / Michael Kunkel
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton is looking to reclaim the world title in 2011 after unveiling the new-look McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 in Germany.
"I’ve spared nothing during my winter fitness preparations and, in many ways, I feel as fit, focused and refreshed as I did ahead of my first season in Formula 1 in 2007."
Following Friday’s innovative car launch in Berlin, the grand prix ace from Herts is determined to win his second drivers’ championship in McLaren’s radically redesigned challenger.
Hamilton said: “I head into 2011 in a relaxed but determined frame of mind.
“I’ve spared nothing during my winter fitness preparations and, in many ways, I feel as fit, focused and refreshed as I did ahead of my first season in Formula 1 in 2007.”
The Tewin F1 hero was runner-up in his rookie season and went one better 12 months later to become the youngest ever world champion, a record beaten last year by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.
Now 26, Hamilton said: “This will be my fifth season in Formula 1. I’m an experienced driver now, and I’ve won the world championship, scored lots of pole positions and taken many race wins.
“So my aim for this year is to ensure that everything comes together in the best possible way and that, like last year, I’m able to fight for the title right down to the final race.”
Hamilton concedes the competition is still fierce, with four other world champions, including McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, also on the starting grid.
The Herts-born driver said: “Of course, Jenson and I will be racing alongside three fellow world champions in 2011, and that’s a testament to the strength of Formula 1 right now.
“It’s incredibly hard to say who’ll be up at the front, but I’m an absolute racer and I’m looking forward to some fantastic, close racing and another thrilling conclusion to the season – hopefully with a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver on top!”
Hamilton begins testing MP4-26 at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain on Thursday.
Of the new car, McLaren engineering director Tim Goss said: “We set ourselves a very ambitious aerodynamic target for 2011.
“We always want to do more and we’re always very critical about performance, but we feel we’ve done a good job.
“We’ve identified some areas where we can add performance to the car – over the next weeks, the task will be to get them on to the car and reliable by the first race.
“That’s the big challenge.”
The opening F1 race of the season is the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, March 13.
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