Lewis Hamilton has said that there is no top driver at Mercedes.
In the latter stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg repeatedly asked if he could take third place from his team-mate saying he was ‘too slow’. This has led to speculation that Hamilton was lured to Mercedes from Mclaren with a contract stating he was to be top driver for the team.
However Hamilton has refuted these claims. “It didn’t,” Hamilton said, talking about the contract negotiations. “I remember just saying to Ross [Brawn] that I wanted equality in the team.
Red Bull’s Helmut Marko has said that he believes Hamilton was promised preferential treatment by Mercedes.
“I think that is rubbish,” Hamilton said. “They [Red Bull] have a clear one and two – they always have and that is why they have the problem they have always had.
“We don’t have a one and two here. I have always said, from the moment I was speaking to the team, that i wanted equality and that I didn’t want to be favoured.
“They didn’t even offer to fvaour me but I just wanted to make the point that i am not a driver that comes and requests that like a lot of other dtivers do. you have to be able to look yourself in the mirror and say you won fair and square.
“Just like in Malaysia I don’t feel like I won my spot fair and square. Although I did drive a decent race, I don’t feel spectacular about it.”
It was an embarrassing moment for Lewis Hamilton during the Malaysian Grand Prix when the British driver accidentally pulled into the McLaren garage for his pit stop.
The McLaren crew were out in the pitlane waiting for Jenson button when Lewis Hamilton pulled into their pit garage on lap seven. Fortunately the Brit realised his mistake immediately and he drove straight through before pulling into the Mercedes pit box.
“I did a Jenson,” Hamilton said. “He did that a couple of years ago. i am used to driving in the McLaren pits. I don’t know how I got it wrong so I apologise to my team.”
Despite being told to save fuel towards the end of the race, Hamilton finished on the podium for the first time with his new team. Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg finished just behind.
“If I am honest, Nico [Rosberg] should be standing here,” Hamilton said. “He had better pace. I was was fuel saving for a long, long time.
“But the guys did a great job and I brought it home.
“I can’t say it’s the best feeling being up here but racing is racing.”
Lewis Hamilton is happy with the fifth place he secured at the 2013 F1 season opener in Melbourne.
“I always like to go forwards rather than backwards, but overall it is a really good step for the team,” Hamilton commented. “It was great. I’m really happy, way better than we ever expected for the first grand prix, so it’s a good place to start.
“We’ve a good platform to work from. The car felt good and I enjoyed every moment. The only thing is we’re going to have to figure out where we lost time to other people.
“I don’t know how they managed to pull away from us so quickly at the start, but we’ll keep pushing and we’ll get there eventually.
“We’ve a good chance to close up because we’ve some good things in the pipeline. I really feel we can compete with those guys.”
However Hamilton is won’t be drawn on whether he thinks the Mercedes is a winning car.
“Only time will tell,” he said. “If we look back maybe some of the guys will feel a bit frustrated we didn’t finish where we started from, or even further forward. But that’s a good feeling to have because we came here not knowing what would happen.”
Commenting on next week’s race in Malaysia Hamilton said, “It’s going to be tough, but hopefully we can have a better race there and get a better result.”
Lewis Hamilton has admitted he decided to leave McLaren at the end of last year because “something didn’t feel right”.
The 2008 world champion had been groomed by the Woking based team for F1 stardom from his McLaren-sponsored days in karting, but 2012 was his sixth consecutive season on the grid with the same outfit. Last year, he finished just fourth in the drivers’ standings, despite having what many believed was the very best car in the field at season’s end.
“I was thankful that I had a car in which I was able to compete with Sebastian (Vettel) and co,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Sport Bild. “But maybe I had just been with McLaren for too long.
“Anyway, I realised that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life there. At Mercedes, everything is new, also the challenge — which is huge. And I’m fine with that. I just needed a change of scenery.”
Lewis Hamilton has revved up his rivalry with former teammate Jenson Button by saying the idea of beating his countryman “doesn’t excite me”.
The Britons were paired together at McLaren between 2010 and last season, but Hamilton has switched camps over the winter to Mercedes.
Button seems happy with what most pundits are describing as ‘de-facto’ number 1 status alongside team newcomer and youngster Sergio Perez.
“It’s unbelievably different,” he beamed, according to the Guardian.
“I’m really loving my job at the moment.”
But over at Mercedes, Hamilton shrugged at the suggestion beating Button at the wheel of a different silver car is an exciting prospect.
“The rivalry between me and Fernando (Alonso) excites me more,” he is quoted by the Daily Mail.
“You also want to beat Seb(astian Vettel), as they are the ones with the most titles. But Alonso’s the fastest driver I can see.”
Whether Hamilton has the most respect for him or not, 33-year-old Button is happy with his lot, insisting he won’t be following Hamilton in the chase for a fresh challenge.
“I feel very at home. I feel like I’d like to end my career here,” he said.
Lewis Hamilton on Thursday sounded keen to patch up his broken friendship with returning F1 rival Adrian Sutil.
As German Sutil’s career was in tatters amid the Eric Lux assault affair, long-time friend Hamilton refused to appear as a witness at the trial.
Sutil, now 30, is returning to the grid after a one-year absence with Force India this year, and both the German and Hamilton are testing this week in Spain.
“I emailed him a couple of times and I emailed him a while ago saying that I heard that he could get the seat and that I hoped he would because he deserved it,” Hamilton told reporters in Barcelona.
“I also emailed him on the way here as soon as I found out, saying congratulations, and that I was happy for him. I haven’t heard back from him but I’m sure at some stage we will get to talk,” added the Mercedes driver.
Sutil was fined EUR 200,000 and given an 18-month suspended sentence for the assault, and as he exited F1 he denounced Hamilton as a “coward”.
Asked about his relationship with Hamilton, he said on Thursday: “I haven’t spoken to him. I have no relationship with him.
“For sure I will meet up with him, but I don’t know what will happen,” added Sutil.
Mercedes is better than McLaren at putting “the focus on the driver”, Lewis Hamilton has claimed after moving teams for the first time after six years in formula one.
It is believed one of the reasons the 2008 world champion decided to leave McLaren is because Mercedes was offering a lighter deal in terms of the team’s non-driving expectations.
“We still have sponsors, sponsors’ appearances and filming days,” he told reporters at the final Barcelona test on Thursday.
“There is not a huge difference. (Just that) the focus is on the driver, the driver’s performance, the driver being ready for the job at hand.
“That’s one thing I’m noticing is a little bit better here,” added Hamilton.