Hamilton warns rivals he has 'plenty to improve'

Hamilton warns rivals he has 'plenty to improve'

8 December 2017 – World Champion Lewis Hamilton believes he and Mercedes still has "plenty to improve", despite the Briton taking his fourth world title, as Mercedes maintained its grip on the Constructors' crown.

Hamilton and Mercedes fought against Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari across the opening half of the year, before pulling clear after the summer, amid incidents and reliability setbacks for its rival.

Mercedes clinched its fourth successive Constructors' title with three rounds to spare, while Hamilton wrapped up the Drivers' title with two races left, having taken nine wins.

Hamilton, though, has warned his rivals that his year was not "100 per cent" and believes Mercedes can still improve further into 2018.

"I'd like to think this year has been the best year," said Hamilton, ahead of receiving the World Championship trophy at the FIA Gala in Paris.

"Naturally I knew that I'd be coming into the season fighting against Ferrari.

"We lost a member of the team last year [Nico Rosberg] obviously retiring and I really wanted to make sure I brought a new, positive, rebuilt [and] restructured me to the team.

"[I wanted to bring] a new positive me into the season and really lead the team to the World Championship, which I did, so that was my goal at the beginning.

"We won nine races, there were lots of ups and downs, I wouldn't say it was a 100 per cent year but it was definitely a strong one.

"But I think there's plenty to improve on and that's the goal for next year."

Hamilton became only the third driver in history to score points at each Grand Prix in a season, and has not failed to finish since his infamous engine failure in Malaysia last year, a run of 24 races.

Hamilton praised the reliability levels reached by Mercedes in 2017, with the W08 failing to finish just one race, when Valtteri Bottas retired in Spain, having been forced into using an old engine.

"I think this [title] I particularly feel incredibly grateful for the team for the incredible work they've done, we've had the best reliability," said Hamilton.

"I don't remember another team having this kind of reliability.

"The goal every year is to improve reliability and the percentage level, to creep into the 90 percentile is something very, very special.

"The other day at the factory we gave an award to one of the groups of mechanics who were working on the gearbox.

"[It was] just about recognising their incredible efforts, [and] that quality control and the procedures they go through to enable me to complete almost every lap – I think I was one lap down in Mexico."

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