New championship leader Lewis Hamilton insists he does not want to run away unchallenged with a dominant 2014 title.
But after testing the W05 at the post-race Barcelona test on Tuesday, the 2008 world champion declared that he actually wants competitors like Red Bull to close the gap.
“I hope so. I need competition,” he is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint.
“At the beginning of the year Nico Rosberg and I ran away from the others, but I don’t think that will happen in Monaco,” said Hamilton.
“Anyway, it doesn’t affect my motivation. If I was all alone with a huge advantage every time, maybe (it would). But Nico is always close anyway.”
Hamilton also said there are other reasons to tune in to Monaco next weekend.
“It will be interesting,” he said, “because the walls are just as close but with the cars this year there will be a lot more oversteer.”
It is possible Mercedes is attempting to drum up interest in the 2014 season because utter dominance is rarely a crowd-pleaser.
Indeed, even in the midst of some of Hamilton and Rosberg’s battles, the television cameras this year have looked away in search of wheel-to-wheel action elsewhere.
“Interestingly we have seen that,” team boss Toto Wolff admitted to the Daily Mail.
But that doesn’t mean Mercedes will ease the throttle to let the chasing pack get closer, or invite its silver-clad duo to drive into one another.
“I guess we have to swallow that,” said Wolff, “and have a little less average media value because I’d rather take a one-two.”