MELBOURNE: Defending champion Lewis Hamilton has dismissed the idea of putting statement wins on the board early in the Formula One season, saying his Mercedes team has plenty of work to do on its car ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
Briton Hamilton, the winner of four of the last five titles, believes the Silver Arrows have a battle on their hands this season against Ferrari, whose car showed impressive pace and reliability during winter testing.
Hamilton's path to his fifth championship started slowly last year, with his first win not coming until the fourth race in Azerbaijan.
Mercedes are one of only two teams in Formula One this season who have maintained the same driver lineup, with Finn Valtteri Bottas to partner Hamilton for a third successive year.
Where Hamilton's partnership with retired 2016 champion Nico Rosberg was fraught with tension, the 34-year-old has enjoyed a much smoother ride with Bottas, who has not proved as competitive as his German predecessor.