Hamilton not buying into the Mercedes hype

Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:41am EDT
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton has had little call to hose down expectations since joining Mercedes, but the Briton has been on the front foot to stifle hype ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix after a promising period of testing.

The Formula One teams wrapped up pre-season testing in Bahrain earlier this month with Hamilton on top of the timesheets and his team looking clear favorites to win at Albert Park on Sunday.

With constructors' champions Red Bull and other teams still grappling with the new turbo-charged hybrid engine, rival drivers at Albert Park added fuel to the fire by tipping Mercedes to cross first in Melbourne.

Felipe Massa, who will race with Williams this season after a long stint at Ferrari, went so far as to tip them to win the constructors' championship, but Hamilton was having none of the cheek.

"Everyone's talking us up and predicting the future but we really can't say what's going to happen this weekend," the Briton told reporters on Thursday.

"We know we'll be strong, we've not left any stone unturned, we've done absolutely everything we can possibly do, so we're hoping we'll be at the front, that's our goal. But we can't say that's going to be the case.

"Coming here, knowing that this is the best chance out of all the years, I don't know; I haven't even got in the car and gone on the track yet."

The 29-year-old finished fourth in the championship last year, with his German team mate Nico Rosberg sixth, propelling Mercedes to second in the constructors' race behind Red Bull in his first season with the Silver Arrows.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One team driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain listens during a news conference in Melbourne March 13, REUTERS/Brandon Malone