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Hamilton: This is a marathon, not a sprint 24 Jan 2013

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart, Germany, January 21, 2013 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes Factory, Brackley, UK, January 2013 Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Ross Brawn, Mercedes Factory, Brackley, UK, January 2013 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes Factory, Brackley, UK, January 2013 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes Factory, Brackley, UK, January 2013

Lewis Hamilton has said that Mercedes must adopt a patient approach to their 2013 campaign rather than thinking of immediately winning races. The 2008 world champion, who joined the team from McLaren over the winter, was speaking during a visit to Mercedes’ UK factory in Brackley as he continued his preparation for the new season.

“I think it’s important to be patient and realistic,” he said “You’ve got to remember that the way Formula One 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 in three months to gain 2 seconds. 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 that this year that we can be competitive. 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.”

Asked if he has the patience to cope with a slow start to the season, the 28-year-old said: “I’m pretty sure I do. You’ve got to remember I had a couple of half-dodgy cars in the past, one in particular in 2009, but it did get better. Perseverance is going to be key for all of us.”

Whilst at the factory, Hamilton revealed that he is set to undertake further work on Mercedes’ simulator.

“We have three simulators here,” he said. “The newest one has all the technology that McLaren’s has but we just need to dial it in a little bit more. We’ve got lots of work to do on it, but it’s great to drive and to get a first impression of how the car is feeling. I got to drive the 2013 car yesterday so that was good.”

Despite joining the team at a late stage in the design process, Hamilton is confident that he can offer a positive contribution to the development of Mercedes’ 2013 challenger, the F1 W04, when pre-season testing begins at Jerez in Spain in February.

“Hopefully in those first days I’ll have quite a good impact because I’ll be able to compare one car to the other and say what we do and don’t have,” he said. “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.”

Before undertaking his work in the simulator, Hamilton was due to address the workforce at the factory for the first time. Asked what he would say to them, Hamilton said: “That I’ll be flat out all the way and working as hard as I can to drive them to success. It’s obviously not a one-man band, it’s a team effort and I want them to know that whilst they’re putting in 100 percent, I’ll be doing the same.

“There is a great spirit - just as there was in my previous team - and the guys seem hungrier than any group of people I’ve seen before. They seem seriously hungry to win and excited that they have another shot of it again this year.”

Mercedes launch their 2013 car in Jerez on February 4. For details of other 2013 car launches, click here.

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