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Lewis Hamilton has explained that he will need to be ‘patient and realistic’ at Mercedes this season, with the 2008 World Champion wary of the deficit his new team has to recover in order to become consistent front-runners.
Hamilton, who visited the Mercedes factory in Brackley this week, says that although it would be spectacular for the famous German marque to be competitive from the opening race of the year in Australia, he is expecting it to be a long-term process.
"I think it’s important to be patient and realistic," he said. "You’ve got to remember that the way F1 has gone over the years, with the car evolving each year and how long it takes to find one second throughout the season - and knowing that Mercedes were 1.1 seconds behind in Brazil - that it’s going to be very difficult for them to gain two seconds in three months.
"So I’ve just got to be wary of that, but I know that the guys are working as hard as they can and every little bit counts. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s looking like the long haul. I hope we can be competitive this year; If we arrive at the first race and we are at the front it’s going to be spectacular, but if we’re not, then we just have to keep on working at it."
Hamilton went on to discuss the upcoming pre-season tests in Spain, with the Briton expecting a few differences when he gets behind the wheel of the F1 W04 at Jerez.
"Hopefully in those first days I’ll have quite a good impact as I’ll be able to compare one car to the other and say what we do and don’t have," he added. "I’ll be able to say how the car is and how it could be better.
"But it’ll take some time to dial in and get up to speed because they’ve got different controls on the steering wheel, different settings, a different set-up, and different characteristics of aero balance. I don’t know how long it’ll take for me to dial those in but I’m on top of it and I’m ready to get going."
Nico Rosberg marked Mercedes' first victory as a manufacturer in 57 years when he won last year’s Chinese Grand Prix. The German will partner Hamilton in 2013.
Hamilton visits Mercedes factory in Brackley
Mercedes Grand Prix
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