LONDON, June 16, 2012 (AFP / Gordon Howard) - Championship leader Lewis Hamilton has warned that there is no time to relax despite his victory at last weekend's Canadian Formula One Grand Prix.
The McLaren driver now has a two-point lead in the title race over nearest rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari in what has been the sport's most closely-contested opening to a season.
Hamilton's success in Montreal made him the seventh winning driver in as many races and despite the Englishman leading the championship, only 33 points separate the top six drivers.
Because of this, the 2008 champion insisted he must consolidate his lead by producing another strong result in Valencia at next weekend's European Grand Prix.
"While it's always pleasing to be leading the championship, I'm only two points ahead of Fernando - which is nothing, particularly when there are a handful of really strong drivers all separated by a couple of points, so there's still everything to play for," said Hamilton.
"Secondly, the intensity of this year's championship means there's so little breathing space - we may have won in Canada, but there's an enormous amount of pressure to keep racking up good results at every Grand Prix.
"I think that consistency, rather than individual strong results, will be the key to winning this world championship, so we need to back it up in Valencia with another strong result."
The 28-year-old added that a strong result in Valencia would boost his confidence and help him build momentum ahead of his home race at Silverstone in July.
"People are always asking me to predict what will happen at the next race and I always tell them it's really difficult to make an accurate prediction - but I'll be heading to Valencia feeling super-motivated to get another strong result and maintain my momentum before we head into Silverstone and the
Santander British Grand Prix."
In stark contrast, his McLaren team-mate and English compatriot Jenson Button has really struggled in recent races, plagued by mechanical issues poor qualifying performances.
In turn, the 2009 champion will be hoping to reignite his title challenge with a strong result in Valencia.
"We addressed everything back at MTC once we'd returned from Canada in a bid to get a clearer direction for Valencia next weekend," said Button, "a day like that is enormously productive and I think we covered a lot of ground.
"The last few races haven't delivered the results I'd like, but there are still 13 races to go.
"We've had seven different winners and no clear championship leader has emerged, so I'll be looking to get a decent result under my belt next weekend in order to get my title bid back on track."