Hamilton can fight for title, says Stewart
5 April 2013 – Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are in a position to claim multiple race victories and challenge for the title in 2013. This is the view of three-time World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart, who has praised the team’s start to the season.
Hamilton has enjoyed a smooth transition from McLaren to the Silver Arrows, picking up a fifth place finish in Melbourne before stepping onto the podium at Sepang. This leaves Stewart certain that it is only a matter of time before a race win is achieved.
"Yes, they can win races," 73-year-old Stewart explained to BBC Sport. "Lewis will drive the living daylights out of whatever car he's got. They can challenge for the title, but they will need to keep up with Red Bull and Ferrari in terms of development.
"The Lotus is very competitive, too, and McLaren will fight back, but [Mercedes Team Principal] Ross Brawn is an extraordinarily talented man. Mercedes exist to win and they have the resources to do so."
Stewart went on to discuss the inter-team rivalry at Mercedes, with Nico Rosberg being ordered to hold position behind Hamilton in Malaysia. In the Scot’s view, the 2008 World Champion ‘holds the upper hand’ due to his past success.
"There's no question that Lewis holds the upper hand because he's had more success - he's had more race wins and a championship," he said. "He's also started the season well. Nico has won a race (China 2012), but he has yet to follow that up. Mercedes have got themselves a very expensive driver and they'll want him to do well."
Hamilton sits fourth in the championship standings after the first two races, 13 points ahead of team-mate Rosberg and 15 in arrears of current leader Sebastian Vettel.