Hamilton's cautious optimism bodes well for defending champion
Lewis Hamilton knows better than to get too carried away with Sunday's victory at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The defending Formula One world champion was at his imperious best as he won by 20 seconds from Valtteri Bottas in a welcome one-two for Mercedes.
Pressure had been building on the Silver Arrows following a tricky start to the season - a miscalculation by the team cost Hamilton dear in Australia and he had to settle for third and fourth-place finishes in Bahrain and China respectively.
Sebastian Vettel won two of those three opening races as Ferrari threatened to mount a serious challenge to Mercedes' dominance of the sport over recent seasons.
Bottas' late retirement in Baku handed Hamilton his first win of the season on a plate - a result that edged him ahead of Vettel in the drivers' standings for the first time this term - and he followed that up with Sunday's impressive performance.
But despite his growing confidence and an increased "synergy" with the car, Hamilton was careful not to overstate the significance of his second successive win.
"It's obviously a little bit early to say but I would like to hope that it could be part of a turning point," he said. "Race by race we're understanding the tyres more, which is a bit battle for everyone. We could just as easily go to the next race and struggle getting our tyres working and be nowhere. So, it's a little bit early to say.
"We do after the five races now have a much, much better understanding of the car, of what we need to do to get the car to be working - but we still have learning to do, improvements to be made.
"We still need to add performance to the car throughout the year, so that's what we're going to be continuing to be working on."
And Hamilton's caution is understandable. Despite winning in Spain after one victory in the opening four grands prix last year, it did not turn out to be the race that kick-started his season.
The Briton went on to miss out on the podium in four of the next six outings before eventually hitting his stride fully at Spa - a race that marked the beginning of a title-clinching run of five wins in six.
So, while Sunday's result will be hugely encouraging to Hamilton and Mercedes, it should not be taken as an indication that the team will dominate from here on in.
But for a man who can flit so easily between supreme confidence and form-affecting frustration, Hamilton's measured response to a significant victory is the sign of a driver with his focus fully on the long game and a fifth world title.