LONDON, ENGLAND - MCLAREN title hope Lewis Hamilton will be brimming with pent-up energy when the Formula One season starts in Australia.
'My motivation is even higher than last year, but in a slightly different way,' the 23-year-old Briton, returning to the scene of his astonishing 2007 debut, said in a team preview for the March 16 race in Melbourne.
'I would say last year was an uncontrollable determination and excitement and just not really knowing what was coming up, just going into the deep blue.'
'Now I know what to expect, I know about my preparations so I am storing energy,' added Hamilton, who won four races last year as a rookie.
'To some people it might appear that I am quieter or something along those lines, but I am saving all this energy for the first race, and I cannot wait to get out there.'
Hamilton lost out to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen by a single point in the last race of the 2007 championship and the Finn looks like being his main rival this year after strong pre-season testing performances.
Raikkonen won in Melbourne last year, with Hamilton finishing third on his debut behind Spanish team mate and double champion Fernando Alonso.
Alonso, who fell out with Hamilton and team bosses last year, has since returned to Renault.
'We need to go there with total confidence in the car, which I have and to get off to a really good start, it needs to be the best start possible,' said Hamilton, who passed Alonso at the first corner in a memorable manoeuvre last year.
'So I am going there with the aim of winning the race, and we will all work hard to try and achieve that.'
The youngster said he felt very positive about the McLaren he will be racing this year.
'I think we have made some mega steps forward and the reliability is even better,' he said. 'The car feels stronger than last year, and despite the removal of areas such as traction control, it is also very similar in certain ways.
'I think we have come a really long way already before the first Grand Prix, and I am confident we will be able to compete with the other teams.'
McLaren were fined a record $100 million (S$140 million) and stripped of all their constructors' points last year for having Ferrari information in their possession. -- REUTERS