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Only a pain-inflicting close win will do for Hamilton

¬© XPB 

If Lewis Hamilton is to conquer a fifth title this season, he wants to win it by the closest margin and after a season-long nail biting fight.

The Mercedes driver was back in action this week in Barcelona, concluding the first installment of pre-season testing at the top of the timesheet.

The Silver Arrows outfit appears to be once again on top of a game it has ruled unrelentingly for the past four seasons.

While Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel challenged the German outfit's hegemony for the better part of last year, the Scuderia's defiance and that of its driver crumbled in the final stretch of 2017.

In the interest of the championship, and for the sake of his own satisfaction, Hamilton is hoping someone can hold their own at every race and give him and his team a good run for their money this year, a state of affairs which requires a level playing field however.

"The closer it is, the better it is when you win," he said after completing his day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday.

"You want the guys you are racing to have a level playing field so that you can really show that there are only small differences between us as drivers.

"You want to be able to show that and it's magnified if the cars are all the same."

Queried on the prospect of battling Vettel once again, the 32-year-old shrugged off the expectation, saying he isn't preoccupied by one driver in particular at this stage.

©Mercedes

"Honestly I just don't focus too much on anyone else," he said.

"I think ultimately for me and my mindset, if I am at my best then I should have no problems. That's how I approach it.

"If I prepare myself in the best way and am as fit as I can be and I have the most energy and I'm feeling healthy, I've come with the right approach, I'm working hard, then I truly believe I won't have any problems.

"That's generally what all the drivers will think. That's what you have to think.

"It's the same for a tennis player at their best. I'm sure if you asked [Roger] Federer, he will truly believe that if he's trained hard and arrived feeling great, there's no-one that can touch him.

"You have to be convinced that will be the case. That's what you work towards.

"So I don't prepare myself and then hope that the next guy has issues so I can capitalise on them, I want him to be at his best because then it's more painful for them when you do out-perform them."

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