After one day of the Australian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has that feeling again.
The feeling that he can again claim a season-opening win in Melbourne – and again dominate Formula One.
Hamilton’s Mercedes banked fastest laps in both of Friday’s practice sessions, leaving rival teams in his wake.
The rule changes that supposedly would drag Hamilton back to the pack had little impact on the triple world champion, whose best lap was more than half a second faster than his challengers.
“It is a wonderful feeling coming into a new era of Formula One to have a car that is so strong,” Hamilton said.
“I’m super happy to be back, particularly after a first day like that. It was 99 per cent perfect.”
Hamilton’s Mercedes struggled in pre-season testing in Spain, when Ferrari supposedly laid down a marker that they would gain ground on a team that has won the past three constructors’ championships.
But after Friday’s performances, Hamilton was content he’s back where he wants to be – the sport’s pacesetter.
“After struggling with some issues in Barcelona we didn’t know if we would have the same thing here,” he said.
“What is really encouraging … is the car is exactly where it should be.
“We were optimistic and hopeful that we would be at front … so that was a relief to all of us.”
But Hamilton, who lost his crown to retired teammate Nico Rosberg last year after consecutive titles, warned the Australian grand prix was yet to be won.
“Ferrari are still right there with us. And Red Bull have picked up a lot of pace,” he said.
“We have got to stay on our toes but I think we are making the right steps in the right direction.”