SPA, Belgium (AFP) – A buoyant Lewis Hamilton played down all suggestions that he has emerged as a Formula One world title challenger on Thursday.
The 28-year-old Briton, who claimed his first win for Mercedes in last month's Hungarian Grand Prix, said he did not feel he was the main rival to defending triple champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.
But he did admit he felt a huge sense of motivation after a run of strong performances ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, the first since F1 took a European summer break.
"It's the same every year -- you have one race win and people then get excited. If you have a bad race, negative things are said.
"I'm not focused on what is being said. I'm just here to do my job and continue driving how I have been."
Hamilton is 48 points behind Vettel in the drivers' title race.
"I've been training hard in the break -- which is different to the last six years, when I've taken it as a real holiday and only trained two or three times a week, not six days," added Hamilton.
"I've been trying to get myself centred and I come here today feeling more motivated than ever. It's a great feeling to know that we've got a car that we can compete with.
"There's a long way to go but generally my second half of seasons have been more positives, so hopefully that is the case this year."