The F1 season is back underway in around a month’s time. That break went by fast.
With pre-season testing beginning in earnest on Monday, after the car reveals over the past seven days, the drivers have been speaking to the media to give their thoughts on the year ahead.
Already there’s been an off-season filled with so much uncertainty and controversy; the grid girl debate, the Halo head protection, and the engine supplier merry-go-round have all been talking points over the past few months.
Now, though, the focus is very much on the racing ahead, and the one driver everyone wanted to hear from, Lewis Hamilton, did not fail to deliver.
The Brit is seeking his fifth world championship this season, in the hopes of trailing only the great Michael Schumacher in terms of number of championship wins.
His biggest stumbling block this season, as it was last, will be the German Sebastian Vettel.
The new Ferrari car looks sleek and looks to have integrated the Halo into the car’s design most seamlessly of all the entrants. They will no doubt prove stern opposition once again.
Last year, Hamilton and Vettel’s rivalry intensified as the season went on. The incident at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix proving to be a massive flash point.
A lot of comments were made in the media regarding the two and the rivalry, with some claiming mind games were crucial throughout the season.
Hamilton, however, has rather boldly made the claim that he doesn’t play such mind games.
After being asked, how important mind games would be this year, Hamilton, wearing his best “who me?!” impression, responded: “Honestly I don’t play mind games, I just drive faster. Simple.”
A little tongue in cheek, and perhaps even slightly paradoxical too.
We will find out if he does indeed drive faster come March 25.
How Vettel responds to this jibe could set the tone for the whole season ahead.