Upbeat Lewis Hamilton aiming to transfer strong start to 2014 to European season
Points leader Rosberg, meanwhile, aiming to repeat 2013 pole
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 05/05/14 11:26am
Lewis Hamilton: Aiming to become the 13th driver to win four in a row
Lewis Hamilton admits he is itching to return to racing action in Barcelona next week as he goes in search of his first win in Spain and the 2014 championship lead.
The Mercedes driver will arrive at the Circuit de Catalunya for the opening round of the European season in the best form of his career having won the last three grands prix, although as many runner-up finishes for Nico Rosberg in that time means Hamilton's team-mate still holds a slender four-point lead in the Drivers' Championship.
Hamilton has three podium finishes but no wins to show for his seven previous Spanish GP appearances, and a year on from his Barcelona race-day tyre struggles when he slid from second on the grid to 12th in the race, the Briton is aiming to maintain the momentum built up over the opening flyaway rounds.
"It's been good to have a bit of a break between races: for us as drivers and also for the team who have been working flat out for so many weeks," the 29-year-old said. "But after three great weekends in Malaysia, Bahrain and China I'm obviously keen to get on to the next one and continue that positive momentum into the next leg of the season.
"Barcelona is a great place to have the first European round on the calendar. It's a circuit we all know very well - although this is the first time in my Formula 1 career that I have raced there without testing at the circuit during the winter - and the Spanish crowds are really passionate about their racing.
"It's great to see so many people in the grandstands over the weekend. I've never won in Barcelona but I'm in a good place right now and I'm hoping that this will be the year, although it's clear who the fans' favourite will be! The circuit is fantastic, our car has performed well so far and I'm really looking forward to a good race."
Having been beaten by the sister Mercedes in all three of the races since his season-opening victory in Australia, Rosberg is eyeing a repeat of his pole from 2013, although is also aware that Mercedes rivals' will be hoping to close the gap to the so-far dominant W05s.
"This is where the next phase of the season begins and there is probably no other track in the world that I know as well as the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya," said the German, who hasn't finished higher than sixth at the event.
"I also have some good memories of race weekends in Barcelona. Last year, for example, I started from pole position so I'm looking forward to going back there again and maybe repeating that particular feat.
"It's also only now that we can slowly begin to get an idea of how the different cars stack up in terms of performance. Each team will have been pushing hard during the break since the last race to find some extra performance from new parts. So it will certainly be an interesting weekend and hopefully an exciting one for the fans too."
Hi guys, really excited for Barcelona! I've never won there but I'm in a good place right now so I'm hoping this can be my year! #SpanishGP- Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) May 2, 2014