Hamilton feeling new maturity
Lewis Hamilton feels his level of maturity will stand him in good stead for a potential tilt this year at a second Formula One world title.
Off the back of strong form in pre-season testing as Mercedes racked up the most kilometres and Hamilton posted the second quickest time, both he and they start as favourites to win the championship.
It is a tag, however, that does not sit too well with Hamilton nor Mercedes Motorsport boss Toto Wolff bearing in mind a wheel has not yet turned in anger at a grand prix.
Only come qualifying for this weekend's Australian Grand Prix will the teams disover where they truly stand in the pecking order as F1's new era, after a raft of regulation changes, begins in earnest.
And only then will Hamilton learn if he really is in with a chance of becoming a double world champion after claiming his maiden crown in 2008.
The 29-year-old said: "Everything happens for a reason, and from the ups and downs, the different experiences I've had, I've learned a lot.
"I've had bumps along the way, but I always feel like I've bounced back from them. It's not how you fall, it's how you get back up.
"So through all those experiences, you just brush the dirt off your shoulder and you keep going.
"I'm still enjoying my life, and my famly and I are in a position we never thought we'd be, coming from a one-bedroom flat in Stevenage.
"So we're embracing the opportunity, I'm embracing it. I feel very fortunate to be here, amongst these drivers, driving for Mercedes. It's just a dream.
"I'm 29 now. It feels like a long, long time since I started - I'm starting to get with the older guys - and I feel like I'm maturing.
"So hopefully that will show in my results, my performances, the things I say and do.
"I'm still young at heart and I'm sure I'll make some mistakes along the way, but that's part of life."
Hamilton can understand why F1 observers are hailing Mercedes as successors to Red Bull's crown given what unfolded in testing, and why they have been labelled as favourites.
But he added: "Everyone is talking us up and predicting the future, but we really can't say what's going to happen this weekend.
"We know we're strong, we've left no stone unturned, we've done absolutely everything we could possibly do.
"We're hoping we'll be at the front, which is our goal, but we can't say it's going to be the case.
"So coming here, saying this is going to be the best chance I have over the years, I don't know, I haven't even got in the car and raced yet.
"I had a good year in 2012 which was a strong year, and I probably had an opportunity in 2010 which I didn't optimise on, so I've had some chances in the past.
"It is a long, long year, and a long time since I won the world championship. It feels like a long time ago.
"But I'm still here and a lot more motivated from when I was before, more focused than ever before.
"So if the package is there then we will do the job, and there's no reason why we can't fight at the front again."