Revved up Hamilton excited ahead of new season

Lewis Hamilton says he believes he is heading into the new Formula One season with a great chance of success following an impressive pre-season testing that has the British driver as the favourite with Paddy Power to win the 2014 Drivers’ World Championship.

With Mercedes starting the new year as the firm bookies favourites to win the title under the new rules, both Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg are expected to be the two men to beat in what is sure to be an exciting new era for the sport.

The four teams using the Mercedes engines - Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and Force India - will start the F1 season with a clear advantage over the chasing pack, with defending world champions Red Bull heading to Australia for the season’s opening race still struggling to find any real reliability from their new car, the RB10.

Hamilton and Mercedes both managed to come away from their testing sessions with plenty of positives, with the Englishman signing off in convincing style as he set the fastest time on the final day of pre-season running to round off an encouraging pre-season period for the team.

And the 2008 world champion has admitted he is excited about getting the new season under way, revealing Mercedes will benefit from the changes made to the sport since the end of last season.

"With all the changes within the sport and the hard work that's been going on within the team, I believe this can be our year to really show what we're capable of. That's not to take anything away from our opposition, who will be incredibly tough to beat as always, but I feel like I'm equipped with the tools I need to succeed. I can't wait to get started,” said Hamilton.