Lewis Hamilton is ready to reignite his battle with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel for the Formula One World Championship title as the sport heads to China. After Vettel proved the Italian team's pace in pre-season testing was no fluke, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team will be looking to regain that top-spot on the podium in Shanghai.
Winning had become a familiar habit for the team, who have won both the Constructors' and Drivers' titles for the past three years. Yet new rules for 2017 threatened to disrupt their dominance, and that was certainly the case last out in Melbourne. Now, though, Lewis is ready to race wheel to wheel with Vettel down the long straights at the Shanghai International Circuit - and he cannot wait to test himself up against the four-time world champion.
Lewis said: "My favourite form of racing is go-karting, it's still hands-down the best form of racing because it's wheel-to-wheel all the way from start to finish. That's what I grew up living for and I lived every day in Formula One in my life, waiting for the day for those kind of battles.
"We had an amazing battle in 2014 with Nico Rosberg in Bahrain, I'm dying for that day to come again. I hope that this happens with me and Sebastian because he's a four-time world champion, one of the best of our generation, so I think the fans are sitting on the edge of their seats for that. I just hope it's not a season of strategy. I want to do some track stuff, that's what I live for, that's what drives me."
Lewis, who was second in Albert Park behind Vettel, says he has all the "positive energy" he needs to get back to winning ways in China. Lewis added: "The result in Australia doesn't change the motivation, it just feels normal. We wanted to win, we wanted to be the ones at the front, and it makes you want to focus on all the weak spots more, and try to enhance them.
"I felt pretty good after the race, and I was then afterwards thinking that you lost the race and it feels more painful but you just turn that into positive energy, so you're training, focused on the next race.
"I couldn't sleep one night and all I could think of is to win the next race. So whilst some of it is negative, we turn it into positives and we move forward. Ferrari won it. They did the better job. It wasn't ours to lose, it was both of us to win and they did the job at the end of the day.
"They've won it fair and square and perhaps the thing that makes it exciting is that their car is strong in certain areas and our car is stronger in certain areas. And I think that's going to make the season exciting hopefully."
Meanwhile, Lewis's new team-mate Valtteri Bottas made an impressive debut in Melbourne with his first podium for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team. The team's non-executive chairman, Niki Lauda, claimed that Bottas was already up to a level that Nico would have achieved in the car. Valtteri was pleased to hear those encouraging words but says there is still more to come from him.
Valtteri said: "I feel well, being part of the team, and pretty comfortable with the team, but I haven't reached the point where I can say that I can't learn anything more about this team.
"There's definitively a lot of things I'm getting more and more comfortable with. I feel good, but I think I'm going to continue in the steep learning curve I've been in for the last few months for a while more.
"Australia was a starting point. It was good for a first race even though it was not like my best weekend ever, it was not a perfect weekend but it was a good start. That's why I feel more comfortable and confident going into this second race with the team."