Hamilton: Mercedes can compete with top teams

2013 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says it’s not impossible for Mercedes to compete with the top three teams in 2013.

Speaking during his first visit to Mercedes in Germany Hamilton said: I live to win. That’s what I work towards every year. So that’s what we’re going to work to this year.

“Of course it’s going to be tough to compete, to beat the guys that are already at the front like the Red Bulls and the Ferraris and McLarens but I don’t think it’s impossible.”

Hamilton said he’s already visited the team’s base in the UK to get up to speed with his new team:

“I’ve been to Brackley back in the early part of December. Asking lots of questions, trying to get as much involved as I can in the limited time I was there.

“It was great to see how enthusiastic everyone was, looked like there was incredible determination to turn this thing around. So that gave me a lot of motivation for my winter.”

“I think this year’s going to be an interesting year, an interesting journey,” he added. “Learning and getting to know new people and working with new people is always a massive challenge so that’s first and foremost one of the biggest challenges I have.

“And after that it’s trying to succeed, trying to extract the most out of them and vice-versa. But I think it’s going to be a journey that we are going to enjoy.”

See pictures of Hamilton’s first day at Mercedes

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “Hamilton: Mercedes can compete with top teams”

  1. I think, for me, this season will go one of two ways for Hamilton. Either he will show his raw, natural pace and have a great season, full of motivation from a new challenge, as we saw from the likes of Alonso to Ferrari, or Button to McLaren (Perhaps a little less so of the latter). Or, the frustration of not being able to compete for pole positions, wins and podiums will drive him crazy, and we’ll see a repeat of 2011.

    Whichever the outcome, I’m looking forward to seeing it all unfold.

    1. I agree but I don’t think that it compares with Alonso’s move to Ferrari.
      In 2009 with Renault, Alonso finished 9th with 26 points.
      I don’t think going to Ferrari in 2010 and fighting for the championship ’til the last race was a move down or a challenge.
      But yeah, it will be very interesting to see how Hamilton reacts to it, since he’s always been in a front running team.

    2. Personally I don’t think there’ll be a return of 2011-style Hamilton. I hope not anyway. He handled last season really well (twitter gaffe aside) considering how many things went wrong that were out of his control.

      Maybe he has looked at how Alonso has conducted himself at Ferrari and will become a team leader, spurring Mercedes on when they’re uncompetitive rather than moaning and criticising them. I think he knows well how difficult it might be, and will act with grace and maturity if it doesn’t go so well, next season at least.

      Either way like you said it’s going to be fascinating!

    3. I am fully confident that, especially if Mercedes will be only as competitive as Ferrari was last year, Hamilton will be as close to matching Alonso’s out-of-this-world performances from 2012 as possible.

      I think if he will not have the best car his talent will shine even more.

      That’s what I expect – that he will not have the best car and that he will shine.

      I don’t think he will revert back to its 2011 self again – he clearly overcame his distraction problem from that year, became stronger mentally, and his attitude will withstand performance issues just as it had withstood reliability issues in 2012. He barely put a foot wrong last year.

  2. Bild is now reporting that Totro Wolff has lured Paddy Lowe from McLaren to Mercedes


    1. So, end of the road for Aldo Costa??

  3. I read this as “Hamilton instructed to say Mercedes can compete with top teams.
    Time to toe the line.

    1. He’s been associated with McLaren for 15 years…he knows how to tow the line! :p

  4. Wow! If Paddy Löw should follow LH to Merc, as Marko said in the report: “A Hammer!” which in German denotes a surprise, then McLaren will have a lot to do. I could not just believe LH would leave McLaren without taking someone along….. the question will be, what position is he going to occupy at Merc? Will he work well with Ross? Will there be a shift or even sacking of a high ranking individuals? ……

    Waiting to see what happens next. Bild wrote Toto wanted Loew for Williams but now he is moving to Merc, he took him along…. a very shrewd Wolf ;)

    1. Where do you get that from that Paddy Low will go too Benz as well ?

    2. This kind of turnovers worked well for Schumacher and Vale Rossi before. Talking all the important people along the way from one winning team to making another team a winner. We will see if that works for Lewis as well.

  5. Hearing Lewis talking about McLaren as a rival team is going to take a long, long time to get used to.

    1. Haha, yes! I’m sure there’ll be at least one slip when he says ‘we’ instead of ‘they’, or drives into the wrong pit.

  6. Never EVER thought I was going to say it but I wish Lewis to be succesful with Mercedes. Looks like both parties need each other so I think it will be a fruitful partnership.

    1. I’m the same way. I can’t stand Hamilton and have actively rooted against him but something about him moving to Mercedes has me almost rooting for him now. My friends think I’m crazy but I think it will be a very good partnership and I actually hope it works for both of them, and Nico too! (All this and I’m a Ferrari Fan!)

      1. :)). I was think that I’m mad about thinking similar to you guys :). I guess if you are a true F1 fun(atic), than you are think about how interesting would be when you have more competitive drivers driving for different F1 teams. It was like that for me, like when Michael came to Mercedes I appreciate his work more than he was in “every body works for me” Ferrari or even when Damon Hill left Williams.

        1. I would’ve loved to have seen a Schumacher/Hamilton partnership, really don’t care for Rosberg, and those two would’ve been the ultimate pairing of experience/raw pace possible from the whole grid.

          1. Awesome partnership man! :)

  7. We will see the fruits of how good he is a driver because at the moment he is much better than any car Mercedes have produced.

    With his speed and expertise he should turn this team into one that wins regularly and what we are really looking at is the time frame in which he can do this. To see him in a Ferrari is the ultimate dream but looking forward to backing him in Merc colours.

    1. The 2009 car! was far more worse than Mercedes-Benz have produced mate. IN Australia the car was nearly 2 seconds slower then the Brawns and Lewis drove straight to P3 while Alonso started at P10 or P11

      1. In the latter halves of 2012, most notably the American GP at Austin, we saw Schumi & Nico lapping 3-5 seconds slower than Red Bull and Mclaren. Yes, that’s now bad the car was!

        1. @kingshark

          Yes, that’s now bad the car was!

          I’m not so sure about that. The United States Grand Prix was the penultimate event of the season, and with such a tight turn-around between the 2012 Brazilian and 2013 Australian Grands Prix, I suspect the team had given up working on the W03 and were by that point concentrating on the W04 exclusively.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys
            Fair point, but then again, when was the last time Brackley worked to develop a car all the way ’till the end of the season? It’s a part of the culture within the team of not being able to improve the car they build over the winter. The vast majority of upgrades & updates have either no affect, or are a step backwards. We saw this during the BAR era, the Honda era, Brawn 2009 and now with Mercedes. That’s what is this teams main weakness.

  8. I hope he does well, it would be sad if he doesn’t as this would prove getting a good driver is less important than the putting money into the car and pay drivers will fill the grid.

    Unfortunately he has moved to brackley, aka BAR racing or Honda. When you call it Mercedes it does sound appealing but if Nico and Micheal could not do anything special last year Hamiton’s going to need a miracle and I don’t believe in miracles.

    1. @josephrobert

      When you call it Mercedes it does sound appealing but if Nico and Micheal could not do anything special last year Hamiton’s going to need a miracle and I don’t believe in miracles.

      That’s an interesting comment, since the team were in the business of performing miracles a few years ago. In 2008, the Honda RA108 was an abysmal car. It wasn’t as bad as it had been at the start of the year, and nor was it as bad as the RA107 from the year before, but it was certainly not a good car. Ross Brawn convinced Honda to give up on development of the RA108 early on and instead concentrate on the next year’s car. Which they did, and when Honda pulled out, Brawn GP inherited the RA109, which was promptly renamed the BGP-001 and went on to take eight wins, seven podiums, five pole positions, and won both the World Drivers’ Championship and the World Constructors’ Championship. And all of this from a team that didn’t even know if they could make the grid for the 2009 Australian Grand Prix two weeks before the race was run.

      Unfortunately, they ran out of money halfway through the season, and by the time the final flyaway leg started, they were relying on race-by-race sponsorship deals just to get to the next Grand Prix. They haven’t recovered to those lofty heights since then, of course, but in the past eighteen months, Ross Brawn has attracted some of the best designers and aerodynamicists to the team. I expect that they will make definite progress throughout 2013, and should be at the front in 2014, if not sooner.

      1. Agree with that @prisoner-monkeys

        What people forget is that since Honda pulled out, that team has been stripped to its bare bones. In 2009 there was hardly any money to develop the car and the staff numbers were cut massively. Since Mercedes bought the team the budget has gone up and they have started signing some top name designers etc and putting better facilities in place but it will take time.

        At the end of the day, in sport, money talks! Red Bull apparently have the biggest budget in F1 (through presumably using their “Red Bull Technology” company to do a lot of the work and stay within the RRA) and look at their success. Before a few people pipe up about Toyota & Honda’s dismal lack of F1 success, pause for a minute. Them teams failed mainly because of the structure of the team, too many board meetings to make decisions rather than letting the people in the know do their job.

        Now 1 thing Ross Brawn is highly rated for is making people work together to create something, he’s not a newey-esque geniius designer but he allows situations to extract the best from people and with the well known name people in the Mercedes team, I think its only a matter of time before it comes right.

      2. Those wins were down to the Multi-deck diffusers. When the other teams started using them, button was in trouble and did very well to hang on to win the champianship.

        Button 1 ,1, 3,1,1,1,1,6,5,,7,77,Ret,2,5,8,5,3

        Like you I would have expected Mercedes to be challenging for championships in 2010, 2011 and 2012 but they have finished 4th, 4th and 5th in the constructors in those years. Its impossible to predict but I would bet on them not getting a top 3 constructor finnsh in the next 3 years.

        1. josephrobert (@josephrobert) said on 22nd January 2013, 11:50
          Those wins were down to the Multi-deck diffusers. When the other teams started using them, button was in trouble and did very well to hang on to win the championship.
          Yeah you are probably wright but don’t forget that Brawn didn’t have an engine until 2-3 weeks before pre-season tests started. Now think how difficult of a situation was for engineers to synchronize everything to work together. Were they extremely superior engineers or they had a lot of luck?

          1. Eddie Jordan is suggesting Brawn won’t be there much longer so it looks like any progress for Mercedes is going to be without him at the helm.


  9. “I don’t have any food, so Nico’s girlfriend cooked for us.”

    Too hilarious. All that success and money and he can’t keep his pantry stocked. What a typical guy thing.

  10. I think that, finally, Mercedes has realised how hard it is to compete at the top level in F1, & has accepted that they must invest heavily in key personnel in many areas, rather than a beloved star driver (Schumi). Hiring Hamilton is a definite warning shot, declaring their seriousness, & now they’ve added vital design & management figures as well. Anyone who knows their F1 history must realise that, once committed, Mercedes will use its enormous engineering & budgetary capabilities to achieve their goal: to dominate F1 within the forseeable future. As M-B gathers its forces, I suspect there will be some apprehensive faces in Maranello, Woking & Milton Keynes.

  11. I do hope they bother to try and compete, it would be too easy not to.

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