Hamilton ready to be patient

Lewis Hamilton says he is ready to be patient with Mercedes if the team does not manage to deliver a competitive car right away.

The British driver is joining the German squad after having spent all his Formula 1 career at McLaren, but he has already stated that he is not expecting to fight for wins this year.

Mercedes won the Chinese Grand Prix last year but then went on to endure a difficult season, dropping far behind the leading cars.

Hamilton remains hopeful that his new team can be competitive this year, but the Briton claims he is prepared to wait.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint," said Hamilton. "It's the long haul. I hope that this year we can be competitive. If we arrive at the first race and we are in front, it's going to be spectacular, but if we are not we know we just have to keep working at it.

"I've not even driven the car so I don't even know what problems they had. It's not like I can say, 'We need to look in this area'. They didn't have enough downforce last year.

"Of course 2014 is probably a slightly better opportunity because things start again."

When asked if he has the patience to stay in a team that is not winning races, he said: "I'm pretty sure that I do. You have got to remember that I had a couple of half dodgy cars, one particular year 2009, but it did get better so perseverance is going to be key for all of us.

"I hope to have quite a big impact in those first days of driving the car. Because I'll be able to compare one car to the other and say what we do and don't have and what the car is and how it could be better.

"But it's going to take some time to get up to speed with the controls and the different settings, characteristics, aero balance. So I don't know how long it will take but I'm on top of it, I'm ready."

Hamilton, whose rivals believe he is unlikely to not win a race all season long, reckons it is key for Mercedes to not get ahead of itself given the gap to the front of the field at the end of last season.

"It's important to be realistic. You've got to remember the way Formula 1 has gone over the years and my experience in the last six years at McLaren, the car evolving each year and how long it takes to develop a car and to find one second throughout the season

"Knowing that Mercedes were 1.1 seconds behind in Brazil, I think it was almost two seconds at Suzuka, so to see that fluctuation g you've got to be very understanding that an evolution of the car is going to be difficult for them in three months to gain two seconds or whatever it is.

"So I've just got to be very aware of that but i know that the guys are working as hard as they can and every little bit counts so that's what they're working for."