• IN WORDS: 2018 Season Tougher Than Last Year - Lewis

Lewis expects this year's title battle to be an even fiercer fight than the last but remains certain his team is the best on the grid...

'So many things keep the boat afloat'

Following tough races in Australia and Bahrain, Lewis has stressed how important it is for everyone to keep pushing to the absolute maximum ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

"The last race we couldn't qualify in the top two," he said. "We weren't fast enough there. In the first race we were definitely more on it. The A game applies to everything across the board. There are so many things that keep the boat afloat.

"It's take a serious unified approach and all of us need to be really on top of everything, including myself, mechanics, engineers, strategists, everything.

"I feel hungry. I've been here a long time and I know it's not lost in two races. I still count those as strong race weekends and particularly last weekend to have P3 on such a difficult weekend.

"I know there will potentially be harder weekends to come but the whole experience is strengthening us. I still believe that we are the best team and we have definitely got the potential to win races and to fight for the Championship.

"But, we have been a successful team for a long time and what's really important is that we all stay on our toes. Last weekend I qualified fourth, so I wasn't bringing my A game in qualifying. I feel like I did in the race but it was too late by then.

"We all need to bring it and this is even more crucial this year, because it is magnified. Ferrari are performing well and Valtteri is too. I think it's a tougher season than last year but we are just two races in. I want to win the next 19 races somehow."

'Still a long way to go'

Ferrari have already showcased that they are a force to be reckoned with in 2018 and Lewis is intrigued to see how the battle evolves from circuit to circuit.

"We need to work on all the areas that are not optimised," he explained. "I don't feel that Ferrari did a better job in Australia. That would be unfair to say.

"We outperformed them all weekend. It was just one little thing that tipped it over. Sometimes you get lucky. That one was a very much fortunate scenario for them [Ferrari] and they capitalised on it.

"The next race they did a good job - but not the whole job. That would be a one-two with both cars and neither of us have done that.

"You can't say that they were perfect and neither were we. But it is very close between us and it will be really interesting to see how we perform from track to track.

"One track might suit them more than us. They have really picked up their engine programme and taken a big step this season. But, there's still a long way to go."