Lewis Hamilton is confident that the vast experience of he and his team will ultimately decide the title fight.
Heading into this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, just 8 points separate Lewis Hamilton and title rival Max Verstappen.
It fair to say that for much of the hybrid era Hamilton has gone unchallenged. While there has been the odd threat to his supremacy, it has never proved sustainable, while discussion over the hows, whys and wherefores of 2016 are best left for another day.
With the threat from Red Bull and Max Verstappen finally looking as though it could be real and topple Hamilton and his team, the seven-time world champion believes that experience is the key.
“You’re seeing the closest battle we’ve seen for some time,” Hamilton told reporters at Barcelona. “You’re seeing Max performing exceptionally well and he has a championship winning car, no doubt, and a championship winning team who can really pull off the job this year if we don’t do our job.
“I definitely think experience will help us in terms of how we approach weekends and how we battle back from tough weekends,” he continued. “I think from my side, I would like to think experience will help but you still have to do the job, minimal mistakes.
“Reliability is also going to be a big deal this year, and as you’ve seen, even these fastest lap extra points are going to be significant.”
While Red Bull had the edge in Bahrain, Mercedes had closed in by last weekend, and Hamilton is confident that the team has done well to recover since it first became clear it was on the back foot as far back as pre-season testing.
“Definitely the first test didn’t look great and at the first race we were still up there but you could see the deficit from us to the Red Bulls,” he said. “But I think in terms of overall output through the weekend, we’ve managed to do a better job.
“We really can’t continue to rely on mistakes from others,” he admitted, “we’ve got to get our heads down and continue to work. We’ve got a good package but it does have its weak areas that we need to continue to work on.
“In terms of my side, I’m really happy with the output. Naturally you’re always trying to raise the bar, make as few mistakes as possible but they’ve been there but I’m grateful for them as they make you stronger when you learn from them.”