Lewis Hamilton insists that he is "so hungry" to start the new season after recharging during the winter break.

13208 - Hamilton 'hungry' after winter break

Despite taking three victories Hamilton suffered a difficult year in 2011 as issues in his personal life started to affect his performance on-track. Having been beaten by a team-mate across a season in Formula One for the first time, Hamilton admitted that it had been "great to get away from everything".

"The winter has been a great opportunity to recharge," Hamilton said. "I got away into the mountains, spent a lot of time hiking and running, improving my fitness and starting to prepare for the New Year. It's always great to get away from everything; change the scenery. And what's great about Formula 1 is that you start each season with the baseline completely reset - everybody starts again from zero - and that always makes me so hungry."

Hamilton admitted that while he was away he kept in close contact with the team to monitor the progress of the MP4-27.

"I've been keenly following the development of MP4-27 over the winter and I've been really encouraged by the results and the data that the engineers have been showing me. I think we already had a very strong base to build upon: Jenson and I won six races with MP4-26 last year and I think we've been able to retain all the strengths and the reliability of that design while also incorporating lots of improvements and new ideas into the new car.

"Of course, the biggest changes for 2012 are the modifications to the exhaust regulations - that will reduce the downforce and grip that we had last year, but it just puts the emphasis on the designers to try and claw some of that back in other areas. I get the feeling the MP4-27 is going to feel very new and exciting when we get to drive it for the first time."