Lewis Hamilton says Red Bull are the target his new Mercedes team will have to emulate
But Brackley-bound driver hopes title wait not as long
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 18/11/12 1:39pm
Lewis Hamilton: Aware Red Bull are the target when he switches to Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton has admitted that Red Bull are the team Mercedes will have to emulate if his new employers are to become a World Championship-winning force themselves over the forthcoming years.
Hamilton is leaving his long-time McLaren home for their Brackley-based rivals at the end of the season on a three-year contract, and although he has already written off his hopes of winning his second Drivers' title in his first year at the team, is convinced he can challenge for the sport's top honours with them over the longer term.
Although the now Mercedes team did win both championships in their previous guise as Brawn three years ago, since the German manufacturer took over they have claimed just one victory in three seasons and not finished higher than fourth in the Constructors' Championship.
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Nearly eight years after their inception Red Bull, meanwhile, are on the verge of F1 immortality with the chance to clinch their third consecutive title double on Sunday in Austin and Hamilton acknowledges they are now the benchmark for everyone in F1 - although he hopes it doesn't take Mercedes as long to win their first title.
"Red Bull took five years to be champions, so hopefully we can do it quicker than that," Hamilton was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
"That is what our target must be. Red Bull have set the target for every team."
Indeed, Hamilton sees no reason why the World Champions won't continue to be the team to beat into at least 2013 given both team and star driver Sebastian Vettel are on a strong run.
"Red Bull will continue to be the best for at least another year. They have a strong team and Sebastian [Vettel] has been doing a good job with it," the Guardian quoted him as saying.
Second place surprises Hamilton
"When he got to Red Bull, it so happened that they were the best and they have been the best for a long time.
"I was very fortunate to arrive at McLaren at the right time and we were competitive. It was just unfortunate we could not continue to do that every year.
"If we had, then it would be a bit of a different story."