Winter testing suggested that the downbeat attitude emerging from Mercedes for 2013 was ‘smoke in mirrors’, and that in reality, the team were best-placed to win on Formula One’s return in Australia this weekend.
Lewis Hamilton, who joined the team during the off-season after leaving McLaren, has insisted that Mercedes are not in a position to win this year, and he mocked the speculation surrounding his pace ahead of the new season.
“First people were talking us down and saying we were going to do terrible and now all of a sudden they’ve changed their opinion. People are all over the place!”
The 2008 world champion was however quick to downplay his chances once again.
“I think what we have to make people remember is that this team and this car have struggled for the last couple of years and that doesn’t change with a click of the fingers.”
Mercedes re-entered the sport in 2010 as an evolution of Brawn GP, and they have failed to achieve any great success having claimed just one win in three seasons. The move has required Hamilton to adjust to life outside of McLaren, but he admitted that he felt comfortable in the car during the drivers’ press conference.
“I feel comfortable in the car. I feel we’ve definitely made some really good steps forward. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. Obviously, normally when you go to a new team it takes a while to get settled in but I’m still working as hard as I can to make sure that feels as comfortable as possible.”
Hamilton has a good record in Melbourne, claiming pole position and the race win in 2008, and he started from pole last year before finishing in third place. The Briton will be hoping to continue this record on debut for Mercedes, and if winter testing is anything to go by, he will certainly be in the running for the win on Sunday.