Lewis Hamilton still smiling Thursday, four days after his Malaysian GP win. (Photo: Getty Images)

still smiling Thursday, four days after his Malaysian GP win. (Photo: Getty Images)

drivers Lewis Hamilton, and provide their perspectives heading into round three of the 2014 Formula 1 season at Bahrain and how they think their seasons have been progressing so far.

I’ve been maximizing this season, says Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton was in relaxed mood in Bahrain today, having had a few days to enjoy his Malaysian GP victory.

Hamilton insisted that he wasn’t downbeat after his earlier retirement in Melbourne, despite the obvious disappointment, as he felt he’d done his best.

“It’s just been peaceful,” he said of his break since Sepang. “I haven’t done anything, just trained, and been in Dubai just getting used to the different time zone. One win doesn’t last forever, and obviously because we have a race this week you just have to naturally reset very quickly.

“Even in Australia I was still in a positive frame of mind when I left. I did everything that I could have done that weekend, I didn’t leave thinking I wish I’d done this or done that, and that’s important throughout the weekend, regardless of the result.

“I think this season, what has happened shows just anything can happen still, you don’t know what’s around the corner, so you just have to make sure you’re maximizing every day. So far I’ve been maximizing every day that I’ve been at the track, and I plan to do that for the rest of the year.”

Asked if he’d had a lot in hand in Malaysia, he said: “Any time Nico went a little bit quicker or whoever [was] behind me went a little bit quicker, I was able to pull out the time if I needed it. I had enough in the bag if I needed it.”

Ferrari can still fight Mercedes for the title, says Alonso

Fernando Alonso sits third in the points standings entering Bahrain.

Fernando Alonso sits third in the points standings entering Bahrain.

Fernando Alonso still thinks that Ferrari can be in the fight for the World Championship all the way to the finale in Abu Dhabi, despite the gap to Mercedes that was apparent in the first two races.

“Definitely, yes. I’m still thinking that we can do a good job. It’s a very young car, very early days on the development of the car.

“All the things that we find, either on the wind tunnel or in the power area, they are not the steps that we are used to seeing in the last years, when you saw half a tenth, half a tenth. Now you see a couple of tenths in any steps, so I think there is very good room to improve in all areas, to become more competitive.

“And at the same time it’s the same for everybody, so we just need to be a little bit more clever than the other teams and find this extra.

“Unfortunately it seems that we started with a deficit, so we need to close that gap. But the potential is there and there is no question that we think that in Abu Dhabi we will be in the fight, that’s for sure.”

Alonso says it’s impossible to judge how much of the deficiency to Mercedes was down to the power unit to the chassis.

“It’s difficult to split the difference of the areas that they are stronger. We all know that the power unit is very efficient and quite strong, because we see all the cars, they are very competitive with the Mercedes engine.

“If we see the McLaren car for example, finishing 84 seconds I think behind Hamilton, the Mercedes car has something also good. It’s not only the engine because they are performing well.

“We just need to improve the package, we just need to improve in all areas.

“We have the Red Bull example also. After a tough winter and some difficulties they managed to change the situation and become competitive very quickly. We will try to do better. It’s only the second race, a long way to go, and we are ready to fight.”

Lotus is getting closer, says Grosjean

Romain Grosjean finished 11th place, one spot out of the points, at the Malaysian GP. (Photo: Getty Images)

Romain Grosjean finished 11th place, one spot out of the points, at the Malaysian GP. (Photo: Getty Images)

Romain Grosjean says that finishing the Malaysian GP was a sign that things are getting better at Lotus after the team’s difficult start to the season.

Grosjean crossed the line in 11th place after giving the E22 its longest run to date.

“I think it was good for all the guys that we could finish,” said the Frenchman. “Of course it was not the way you would like to see when you start a Grand Prix, but at the moment that’s where we are, plus we were not that far from the points.

“I think without a small issue at the end of the race, we could probably have got closer and maybe fight for points, but it was good. The guys had three nights in Melbourne when they didn’t sleep, all that for not a big reward.

“And then we went to Malaysia and again, they worked very hard, and we all know it’s humid and hot there, so conditions were tough. But we managed to get to the end of the race.

“I think we learned more about our car and we wish from now on that we get trouble-free weekends as was the case on Saturday and Sunday, and then from there we can learn, improve and get closer to where we would like to be.”

Grosjean didn’t want to comment on how long it might take Lotus to turn things around.

“I don’t know, to be honest. I know that we still have in our genes the winning spirit and we can still fight back. Of course, when you start the season with everything in the right direction it’s easier to move forward but at the moment we’ve had some issues. We’ve solved most of them, hopefully no more coming, then we can go from there.

“Of course Renault is well aware that the power unit needs to improve a little bit compared to certain other manufacturers, but I think it’s going to be good and we can work on our car.”

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