Lewis Hamilton says 2012 McLaren suited him better after first season at Mercedes
But Ross Brawn insists Hamilton is progressing with Mercedes car
By Pete Gill and Mike Wise at Interlagos. Last Updated: 23/11/13 10:17pm
A frustrated Lewis Hamilton has admitted that, even after nearly a full season at Mercedes, he still hasn't adapted to his new car and the McLaren he drove in 2012 "suited" him better.
Hamilton will line up fifth for Sunday's Brazilian GP, three places behind team-mate Nico Rosberg, with his difficulties mastering the W04 made especially acute by the wet and slippery conditions at Interlagos.
"It's where I thought we would be, I did my best but I was struggling," the 2008 World Champion reflected to Sky Sports F1.
"My car is very twitchy on the power and very easy to spin, so I have things to learn. When I was at McLaren, I knew the car, I had been there for a long time, and it suited me easier than the one I am driving right now."
Speaking later, Hamilton went into more detail. "When I was at McLaren, I was there for a good period of time. When I went into the first year, I'd done a lot of simulator running to really get on top of things," he explained.
"The car just seemed to work and over the next years the car was being built for me and obviously my team-mate. But I had a lot of input into that.
"This year's car was built with work from Nico, so obviously it was built for Nico and it was developed with Michael [Schumacher] - drivers different to me.
"Naturally, this year has been a really difficult year in terms of trying to extract the most of the car."
Yet despite the difficult process of adapting to a new team and a new type of car after previously spending the entirety of his F1 career at McLaren, Hamilton has both out-pointed and out-qualified Rosberg over the course of their first year together as team-mates.
"It's actually not such a bad year considering it's my first year in a car I've not really known," Hamilton added. "But there's still so many things I'm learning - even this weekend."
Given that the Sebastian Vettel-Red Bull package has proved unbeatable for everyone else as well, Hamilton's first season at Mercedes will largely be regarded as a success and Team Principal Ross Brawn is convinced his driver is winning the battle to get to grips with his new machinery.
"We haven't quite got the car to his liking. We are improving and Nico has demonstrated that with his extra experience of the car he can get it dialled in more frequently - and that's where we have to get Lewis," said Brawn.
"It's just a matter of time, I think he has progressed very well this year and it's not something we are overly concerned about. It's something we will definitely improve next year."
With one race of the season remaining, Mercedes have a 15-point lead over Ferrari in their battle to finish second behind Red Bull in the Constructors' Championship, while Hamilton is third in the drivers' standings.