Lewis Hamilton has fired the first shot of 2020, telling Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc that all their talk about taking him on is “a sign of weakness”.
Hamilton was at the Silverstone circuit on Friday for the official unveiling of Mercedes 2020 car, the W11.
Mercedes released a few rendered images of the car early Friday morning before Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas shared their thoughts from the pit lane.
This season Hamilton is chasing a record-equalling seventh World title while Bottas is after his first.
For both it would be a momentous occasion while for Mercedes it would part one of a potential seventh successive championship double.
Asked who he believes will be his biggest rival this season, Hamilton gave Bottas a pat on the shoulder and replied: “Imagine this dude.”
“I think it is the same group, probably be the same.”
The ‘same group’ is Bottas, who was second last season, as well as Red Bull’s Verstappen and the Ferrari drivers, Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.
Leclerc and Verstappen have publicly targeted Hamilton as their main rival for this season’s crown, both 22-year-old wishing to be the one to dethrone him.
Hamilton isn’t taking the bait.
“I find it funny as I’ll do my talking on the track,” he said when asked about the chatter. “Often I tend to see that as a sign of weakness.”
Hamilton will put in his first laps in the W11 on Friday afternoon with Bottas the first to debut the car.
As for whether he’s feeling any pressure ahead of his quest to equal Michael Schumacher’s record, he isn’t, at least for now
“I think at this time of the year you don’t feel any pressure, it is just about having some fun.
“You are focused but it is about enjoying the moment.
“The guys have worked so far to put the car together.
“There are only two of us that get to drive it.
“These guys have been working for months and months to get it ready for this day.
“Now me and Valtteri get to stretch its wings a little bit.”