By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton has dismissed criticism from former Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg as the product of someone seeking “headlines”.
Rosberg, who beat Hamilton to the 2016 world championship before retiring, told Sky Sports this week that the Briton was “almost unbeatable” when on song but his “weakness” was a “bit of inconsistency”.
Hamilton, whose long-standing relationship with Rosberg grew strained during their four years together at the Silver Arrows, viewed the German’s remarks dimly three days before Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
“I think I’ve proved that that’s not the case last year,” champion Hamilton told reporters at the pre-race news conference on Thursday, referring to his nine wins on the way to the 2017 title.
“I think there’s a lot of people who need to get headlines and that’s one way of doing it.
“The goal this year is to be even more consistent than last year. I think consistency is the main reason I won the world championship last year.”
Hamilton conceded the early running in the 2017 title race to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel before the German’s challenge fell away in the second half of the season.
The Briton is favorite to win a fifth title and draw level with Juan Manuel Fangio, who is second on the all-time list behind Michael Schumacher’s seven championships.
Although 33 and having admitted to thinking about life after racing during the last campaign, Hamilton felt he had yet to reach the peak of his powers.
“I hope not,” said Hamilton, who made his Formula One debut for McLaren at Albert Park in 2007 and won at the lakeside circuit in 2008 and 2015.
“I’m sure there is a peak for a driver when their fitness level gets harder to reach the fitness level that we do today,” he added.
“When your interest starts to decline and your drive starts to decline, I guess that’s when you’re over your peak but I definitely feel I’m not at that (stage).
“I’m definitely in a good range right now and that’s where I need to continue to try to extract the most I can.”
(Editing by John O’Brien)