Lewis Hamilton reckons he stands a good chance of going one better than last year at the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.

14275 - Hamilton optimistic about Spanish Grand Prix chances

Hamilton finished a close second to Sebastian Vettel at the Circuit de Catalunya last year and in 2010 was running second with two laps to go when a puncture dropped him down the order. He believes this year's McLaren is more competitive than its predecessors, but is still wary of the competition.

"Our performance at Barcelona during winter testing looked promising - but the form of the season is still very hard to read, so it's difficult to predict who'll be at the front next weekend," he said. "Nonetheless, we had a great race there last year - I pushed Sebastian [Vettel] all the way to the finish. I think we have a comparatively stronger car this year, so I hope we can have another strong race."

Hamilton was within a second of Vettel during the final ten laps of last year's race, but Barcelona is notoriously difficult to overtake on and even with the use of KERS and DRS he failed to find a way past the Red Bull.

"It'll be interesting to see how straightforward overtaking will be this year," Hamilton added. "It's always been a tough place for passing - as I found out last year - but I really hope DRS and KERS-Hybrid combined will make it a little easier.

"I think it's going to be one of the toughest tracks of the year for overtaking, but I'll be hoping for a strong performance in qualifying in order to make it as straightforward as possible in the race."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: "I sometimes think of the Santander Spanish Grand Prix as a useful acid test as to the effectiveness of the year's regulations: it's a tough, technical circuit where passing is limited. If the racing is good here, then we're normally set for an interesting year: for 2012, we've already seen that the combination of DRS and KERS-Hybrid can spice up proceedings, so I hope we're in store for a fun and eventful race next weekend."