Former Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has been given two huge votes of confidence as he tries to bounce back into world championship contention this season.
They came ahead of this week’s opening Grand Prix in Australia from Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
The Sun quoted Ecclestone,as saying: “I hope McLaren are faster than at the start of last season and are able to fight for wins right from the first race. Lewis is a huge talent that has not changed.
He added: “He was probably mentally a bit unstable last year and that resulted in a situation where he didn’t show his full potential.
But despite rating the McLaren team-mates,Ecclestone reckons Sebastian Vettel will make it a hat-trick of world championships.
Whitmarsh said data and driver feedback from pre-season testing indicated McLaren would be ‘competitive’ at Melbourne.
He added: “The bad news is we don’t look dominant. The good news is that no one else does either.”
Asked about Hamilton’s mindset following his 2011 troubles,Whitmarsh said: “I think you can see around testing and how he has conducted himself in the media suggests he’s definitely focused on beating 1) his team mate and 2) everyone else.”