Friday 15 December 2017

Lewis Hamilton: 'Mercedes need to work hard over close season or else we'll have another average campaign'

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton

Ian Parkes

Lewis Hamilton believes a winter's worth of input into next year's Mercedes will ensure he avoids another "average" campaign.

One victory, five poles and fourth place in the drivers' standings represents a reasonable haul from Hamilton at the end of his debut season with the team.

When you consider before the season began Hamilton was not expecting to be too competitive, he and team-mate Nico Rosberg have performed well to hand Mercedes second in the construcors' for the first time.

On reflection for Hamilton, he claims he "should have done more", but appreciates the fact the car was not his and developed to his tastes when he first arrived.

With a year under his belt, and with Formula One facing its biggest rules change for many years for next year, Hamilton now has the opportunity to mould the 2014 Mercedes to his liking.

"When I was at McLaren, going into my first year I'd already been there a period of time," said Hamilton.

"I'd done a lot of simulator running to really get on top of things and changed things to the way I liked them, and the car worked for me.

"Over the following years the car was built for me, and obviously my team-mate, and I had a lot of input into that.

"This year's car has been built for Nico, and developed with Michael (Schumacher) who drives differently to me.

"So this year has been a really difficult year in terms of being able to extract the most from the car.

"Actually, it's not been such a bad year given it has been my first year and with a car I've not known.

"There are so many things I've been learning, with lots of problems throughout the year.

"Nico has been here from the first year, so the stuff I'm learning I'm sure is similar to what he was learning in the first year.

"So I'm hoping next year, from this year's experience, I have a much better understanding."

A drive-through penalty in Sunday's final race of the year in Brazil relegated Hamilton to ninth, resulting in him missing out on a top-three finish in the drivers' standings to Red Bull's retiring star Mark Webber.

Not that Hamilton was bothered by that as he said: "I don't care. It doesn't matter.

"At the end of the day he (Webber) should be there because his car was so much faster all year.

"It's not a big deal, you don't get a bonus for it. Winning is the only thing that counts.

"For the team, second in the constructors' was important because that is what they deserved. I'm glad I was able to contribute to that."

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