Hamilton hopes for podium finish
Lewis Hamilton has revealed he would happily accept third place if it were offered to him for this Sunday's season-opening grand prix in Australia.
The doom, gloom and negativity that surrounded Mercedes earlier this year has been replaced by a more upbeat and positive attitude over the last couple of months. The performances in testing from Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have been very impressive, to such an extent many pundits are predicting a far stronger challenge from Mercedes than has previously been the case.
"Right now I'd definitely take third," said Hamilton, a position he had to settle for last season for McLaren after starting from pole. "It would be a massive positive for the team. It would be a very good stepping stone for us."
But predicting the outcome on Sunday is beyond any fortune teller as the circumstances to be encountered at Melbourne's Albert Park this week will be far different to anything seen in testing.
With a hot week forecast, air and track temperatures will be considerably higher than in Spain, whilst the circuit itself is a temporary 'street' venue, with roads barely used throughout the year.
Throw in the expected high degradation of Pirelli's tyres and the race could be something of a lottery.
"The last couple of years the tyres have been changing quite a lot, so you don't know what's going to happen there," said Hamilton.
"The Pirelli guys have said the supersoft tyre might not last six laps, so you're going to start the race and immediately you're going to be pitting.
"You're going to have to make the medium tyre last as long as possible. It could be a three, four-stop race. Who knows?
"But it's always the most exciting race because you don't know where people stand in terms of performance."