Lewis Hamilton responds to Nico Rosberg's 'inconsistency' jibe

EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton still inspired by karting 'abuse' (3:33)

ESPN sat down with four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton in Turin to discuss whether he still has what it takes to race and the struggles he dealt with as a child getting into the sport. (3:33)

Lewis Hamilton says former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg was just trying to make headlines when he suggested inconsistency was his biggest weakness.

Rosberg, who beat Hamilton to the 2016 world championship before retiring, told Sky Sports this week that the four-time world champion "has these periods where he is just not on it". The German said any driver who wanted to beat Hamilton to this year's title would have to capitalise on those moments.

Hamilton brushed off the remarks at Thursday's press conference in Melbourne.

"I think I've proved that that's not the case last year," he said, referring to the nine wins he claimed on route to the 2017 title. "I think there's a lot of people who need to get headlines and that's one way of [doing] it.

"The goal this year is to be even more consistent than last year. I think consistency is the main reason I won the world championship last year."

Sebastian Vettel was Hamilton's main championship rival in 2017 and was sat alongside the Englishman in the press conference. The two men aim to move level with Juan Manuel Fangio's five world championships this year.

When asked to consider the same question about Hamilton, the Ferrari driver said: "Well, there aren't many. I think he's ben doing a good job for many years now. It's always a bit of a weird question to answer when the person is sitting right next to you! But there's not many. I'm sure we all have our weaknesses.

"Maybe some is part of our characters, some is part of our driving, but to be honest I don't really think about those too much. I think about mine quite a lot and try to get better in what I consider I need to improve. Concerning other people, it's not in my hands so I try to finish my plate."

Rolex Australian Grand Prix Schedule on ESPN Networks (all times Eastern)

Thur., March 22
Practice 1 9 p.m. ESPN3

Friday, March 23
Practice 2 1 a.m. ESPN3
Practice 3 10 p.m. ESPNEWS

Sat., March 24
Qualifying 2 a.m. ESPN2

Sun., March 25
On the Grid 12:30 a.m. ESPN2
Race 1 a.m. ESPN2
Race (encore) 11 a.m. ESPN2
Race (encore) 1 p.m. ESPNEWS
Race (encore) 9 p.m. ESPNEWS