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Hamilton has 'never worked harder' to optimize his performance

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Lewis Hamilton has worked as hard as possible, both on the physical and technical fronts, to optimize his performance this season.

The two-time world champion wasn't sure what to expect from Mercedes' opponents before the season got underway.

But that didn't keep him from focusing on every aspect of his preparation, with a particular attention paid to one weakness which  prevailed last season: his slow launch off the grid.

"I think it [starting the race] is definitely harder now, but I've worked very very hard on it," Hamilton said.

"I couldn't have worked any harder on it, basically. And we've not stopped, this progress continues to be made, but I'm really happy with it.

"I think it's often for all of us, just in life - if you want to get fit, and you go to the gym and it hurts, and you can't bother to go again but you eventually see the results of the effort you put in.

"I'm seeing that more and more this year, with my fitness level, for example, and the work that I've done on the starts. I've seen the results and it's paying dividends."

Hamilton and Mercedes' game plan at the outset has been to try and gain an upper hand over the opposition - meaning Ferrari - as early as possible, and build on any subsequent advantage.

But with Vettel shadowing his every move, the jury is still out as to whether that scheme will pan out. Regardless, Hamilton is determined to pull out a lead, even if small.

"Any advantage you can get at any point, and definitely early on will hopefully pay dividends at the end," he said.

"We're joint right now, I've got to try and make sure I finish ahead of him at the next race. I want to get another pole, that's my real goal – I've got six in a row, and Senna had eight in a row. So I've got to catch Senna!

"Any one little step ahead you can get, even as a team, if we can get one step ahead on something, it puts pressure on the other to close that step up."

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