Lewis Hamilton wants to see trophy cabinet at Mercedes HQ grow all the time
Although he warns "it's marathon for me, not a sprint" at Mercs
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 25/01/13 12:12pm
Hamilton targets title with Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton has made it his goal to ensure Mercedes are forced to build a bigger trophy cabinet at their Brackley factory during his time at the team.
The 2008 World Champion had his official unveiling at his new employer's Northamptonshire base on Thursday and it didn't escape his notice that their entrance hall contains a relatively small trophy cabinet, in stark contrast to the lavish one that occupies pride of place at his former team McLaren's Technology Centre.
While his new Brackley-based team did win eight races and both World Championship titles during their sole year as Brawn in 2009, in their Mercedes incarnation they have claimed only one race victory and five other podium finishes in three seasons.
Hamilton, however, wants the trophies to mount up on a more regular basis over the course of his three-year contract.
"I'll work as hard as I can [to achieve success]," Hamilton told Sky Sports News.
"Obviously we've got a small [trophy] cabinet here which I want to work towards the team [having to] make this whole place full of trophies. So that's the target."
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While Hamilton was managing expectations for his first year at Mercedes even before he had left McLaren, his Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso predicted last week that his rival "can win more than one race" in the new season.
The man himself is remaining cautious given the gap between his new and old team in particular at the end of last year, although has been encouraged by the hunger he has seen already inside Brackley.
"I'm generally quite an optimistic guy so I was already quite optimistic when I signed," Hamilton added.
"I knew that we'd got a lot of work ahead of us and I'm still very realistic about that as well. Obviously the car towards the end of the year here was a good second off of the McLaren and off the Red Bulls, so I know that we've got that to climb and also more on top of that because people would have developed a good second and a half or so through this winter.
"So I just know that we've got a lot of work to do but I've seen the great spirit here, the guys are working flat out and they look like they're hungry - and so am I. So we've both got something straight away in common."
Hamilton has already driven the W03 - which is launched at Jerez on February 4 - in the simulator and says he will do as much as he can in the coming weeks with the team to ensure the car is as competitive as possible.
He admits he will have to draw on all of his experience gained in motorsport so far to do so, although reiterated that he sees his Mercedes career as a long-term project.
"Every driver has quite a big impact on the car and the development, but obviously it's a collective piece of work," the Briton explained.
"So I've really got to try and get as much involved as possible. Obviously I can't really do too much about the car at the moment as I haven't driven it, so I have no idea, and the simulator's one thing but driving in real life is a different thing.
"So I'm waiting for the first test [at Jerez] and those first few days are going to be quite important with the feedback that I give back, the correlation compared to the simulator and also what I've experienced in the past.
"Everything I've learnt through the whole 18 years, or whatever it is, I've been racing I've just got to now try and put all that experience into this short period of time.
"But this is a bit more of a marathon for me, it's not a sprint. I'm here for the long haul so it's a long journey up ahead."