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Lewis Hamilton says it will take 'at least six months' until he can make a noteworthy impact on the pace of Mercedes's 2013 challenger, with the 2008 Champion's first test for the Silver Arrows coming next February. Outlining a deficit of what he believes to be one second, the Briton fully understands the task ahead of him.
"I think it's far too early to say because I've never even driven the car," Hamilton told Sky Sports News of his victory chances next season. "It looks like (at the final race) in Brazil Mercedes were 1.1 seconds behind so we've got a long, long, steep hill to climb. But I don't think that's impossible, I think the guys have great, great potential and that's why I'm going there.
"I don't see it as a short-term thing. Firstly I don't get in to the car until February so I won't really be able to have a big enough impact until at least six months down the line."
Hamilton went on to talk about the 2014 campaign, when he expects Mercedes to exploit the wide range of regulation changes that will be enforced.
"I think 2014 has to be the most important year, or the most competitive year, but I don't see why we can't try to clinch a few podiums," he added. "If we can get some wins next year; if it just happens to go really, really well then we'll be smiling, but we'll see."
Hamilton is joining Mercedes after a six-season spell at McLaren. The 27-year-old will share the same garage as Nico Rosberg, a former team-mate from karting.
Mercedes Grand Prix
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