Looking fully prepared to fight all the way to a seventh world championship crown this season, clearly keen to get into the W11 as soon as possible and get proceedings underway, Lewis Hamilton smiled politely and went through the motions as he was asked the inevitable (prepared) launch questions.
However, when asked about recent comments made by Max Verstappen, his smile broadened into a grin.
“I find it funny seeing that,” said the Briton. “I have always been known to do my talking on the track. I tend to see that as a sign of weakness.”
The world champion was reacting to Verstappen’s claim that, in his opinion: “Lewis is very good. He is definitely one of the best out there but he is not God. Maybe God is with him, but he is not God.”
The Briton has already warned rivals that he will be on another level this year, that once the season got underway he would be “a machine”, and based on the evidence to date few would doubt him.
“I fit in my seat, which is a start,” he joked. “Last year I didn’t really fit in my seat, so I had to make lots of modifications.”
“I think at this time of the year you don’t really feel any pressure and it’s really just about having some fun,” he added. “You’re focused but it’s really about enjoying the moment.
“I’ve had the best winter training yet,” he added. “Over the winter, I’ve really been trying to analyse where we were last year and how I can grow and improve as a driver and as a human being.
“I’ve really been trying to focus on how can I take it to another level as a driver, how can I extract more from myself and from the team, and trying to deliver something really great this year.
“This is my eighth year with this team and this year’s challenge is super exciting. I have no doubt every single team member will try to raise the bar within themselves and I’ll be trying to do the same.”