• First Barcelona Test, Day Four

Top ten the target - Hamilton

ESPN Staff
February 22, 2013 « Grosjean expects Lotus equality | Williams eyeing immediate challenge - Bottas »
Lewis Hamilton: "We're hoping to get in to the points this year; we're hoping to get in to the top ten" © Sutton Images
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Lewis Hamilton has played down suggestions he could challenge for the world championship, saying his target is only to score points.

Some of his main rivals had commented that Hamilton's presence at Mercedes would see the team challenging at the front of the grid for race victories this year, even though the team has only won once in three years so far. Hamilton was asked if he felt there was anything he'd learned during testing at Barcelona that indicated he could challenge for race wins this year, but said his expectations were much lower.

"I haven't seen anything just yet," Hamilton said. "We're not looking at wins at the moment. We're hoping to get in to the points this year; we're hoping to get in to the top ten.

"It doesn't mean it's impossible but I think people are talking us up at the moment with [Sebastian] Vettel and I think Fernando [Alonso] saying I'm going to be competing for the world championship. Well I really don't see that happening at the moment. Of course that's our goal but you've got to remember the car was sometimes two seconds off last year and we've not caught two seconds up. And the teams will have put on another second this year so we've not gained three seconds; that's just a fact. Hopefully by the end of the year we will have gained three seconds - that's our goal - but definitely not at the beginning."

Hamilton reiterated his belief that the car's weakest point was a lack of overall downforce.

"The engine is the strongest point, the downforce is the weakest point. Nice and easy!"

Despite his apparent negativity, Hamilton was keen to stress testing was progressing well and that the car is as competitive as expected.

"It's gone pretty well. Today obviously with the rain it's not been the best in terms of getting some mileage but when we're in the dry we've got through a lot of the programmes that we wanted to get through and have just been focusing on ourselves and I'm quite happy."

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