Lewis Hamilton believes that his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg is likely to have an “easy weekend” at the Chinese Grand Prix.
The reigning Formula 1 World Champion’s comments come after he was given a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox.
Rosberg won the first two races of the season, in Australia and Bahrain, and the 30-year-old could make it three wins in a row and cement his spot at the top of the standings should he triumph in Shanghai on Sunday.
However, despite his penalty, Hamilton feels that he is still capable of catching Rosberg.
“It is going to be an easy weekend for Nico,” Hamilton told reporters. “It will most likely be an easier weekend for him.
“But it doesn’t mean I can’t give him a run for his money from wherever I start, so I’ll be pushing as hard as I can. It doesn’t mean I can’t win the race, which is my thought process rather than damage limitation
He added: “I like racing, so I enjoy coming from the back. That’s how I started. When I started racing we started last all the time because we had a crap kart and that’s all we could afford. That’s what I grew up doing, that’s what I love doing.”
Despite the fact that Hamilton will start no higher than the third row of the grid, Rosberg has asserted that the 31-year-old remains a big threat, and has warned that Ferrari should not be written off.
“I have taken notice of that, but it hasn’t really changed my approach at all,” said the German. “A Hamilton that starts sixth is still going to challenge for the win, so from that point of view it doesn’t really change much for me.
“I’m still fully focused and not taking anything for granted because there is not only him, but there is still Ferrari who haven’t shown at all what they can do that. We mustn’t forget that. There is a lot more in them because they’ve had such a messy first two races.
“It couldn’t have gone any worse probably for them, and I know that.”
Experience the full coverage of the FIA Formula One season throughout 2016 on FOX Sports Play, where you can watch LIVE races from angles unlike any other, highlights, interviews, behind the scenes and many more. Don’t miss it!