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Hamilton: "I'm not frustrated"

2008 world champion, Lewis Hamilton has said he is not frustrated at the thought of McLaren having to play catch-up at the start of the season again, after the Woking based team has lacked both pace and reliability in winter testing. Hamilton instead remains optimistic that improvements to the MP4-26 will not take long. "I don't like to use the word frustrating, because I'm not frustrated." Said the Young British driver. "It's tough on everyone in the team because everyone put so much work into it and you see something that comes out and looks so beautiful and - it's not a disaster - it just doesn't have as much performance as we'd like at the moment." "But it's a foundation we can build on and that's all that really matters. We can get there. If you look at last year we didn't have the fastest car at the beginning but we were there or there abouts and second in the constructors' championship. It's a long, long year and I have no doubts that we can compete with these guys." "I'm positive. I love racing, I'm looking forward to racing," he continued. "I'm always hoping for the most optimistic improvement. I'm always hoping that all of a sudden they'll say 'okay, we've got this coming' and we'll arrive there and the day before we'll have something new." "You never know when that could happen so let's keep our fingers crossed and try to keep an eye on what the guys are doing. I know everyone's working as hard as they can. No one's slacking or sitting back. We know we have a bit of a hill to climb, but we can do it." The 26 year-old racing driver believes McLaren's long-run pace is looking more promising that its single-lap form, although reliability also remains a concern. "I've done some long runs on the tyres on previous days, and I think the car's feeling a lot better," he said. "So I think our race pace doesn't seem so bad. Whether we can finish the race is the next thing. But our race pace doesn't look so bad compared to other people's." Hamilton did admit however that he does not think McLaren can currently compete with the pace of teams such as Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull displayed on qualifying-style runs at testing this week. "Yesterday I looked at the times and everyone's done a 1m 21s, I couldn't get into the 1m 21s the other day. I just got into the 1m 22s. So based on my times compared to them it looks like we're two seconds off, but we're not two seconds off. Yesterday Jenson didn't do any light-fuel runs or decent tyre runs, so it's difficult to know exactly where we are." "I'm assuming they did qualifying runs. 1m 21.2s is very competitive. I would guess that we could get down to a low 1m22s maybe, but that's just a guess." Hamilton concluded saying: “As for the world championship, I’m excited – we’ve got a long season ahead of us. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we have more updates coming for Melbourne. “The championship is open, and we don’t know what to expect. Our whole team will be pushing very, very hard.”

http://www.f1.co.uk/mclaren/

Image ©Andrew Hone

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