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Lewis Hamilton Drives the Mercedes CLA

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Lewis Hamilton does not know what to expect from his new Mercedes car.

Link to video: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg reveal Mercedes new car for 2013 season

Lewis Hamilton will take to the wheel of his Mercedes this week with "an open mind" as he plots on how to turn the team into winners.

Hamilton, along with his team-mate Nico Rosberg, took the wraps off the W04 under the Spanish sunshine at the Circuito de Jerez on Monday.

At the start of his three-year deal with Mercedes, the 28-year-old former world champion now faces a journey into the unknown over the next few days as they will determine whether the car has what it takes to challenge Red Bull, Ferrari, and Hamilton's former team, McLaren.

With Mercedes gaining just one victory in the past three years since they returned to Formula One, Hamilton's high-profile capture means the pressure is on the Briton and his new team to show significant improvement this season.

Despite undergoing simulator work over the past few days to get a feel for the car, only when Hamilton gets behind the wheel will he get a true understanding.

With Mercedes at Jerez for a filming day in which they are allowed to run for nothing more than 100km ahead of official testing that begins on Tuesday, Hamilton said: "It won't be until I drive it that I can say how it feels.

"The simulator is one thing, but correlation is always different, so it won't be until the next couple of days that I get a feel for it and understand in which direction to push the car.

"And I'm going in with an open mind, a blank sheet. I really don't know what to expect. I just really hope it has lots of downforce!"

The car at least boasts design changes to the front wing and has done away with the stepped nose that was prevalent last year in favour of the vanity panel allowed this season to cover the bump.

Hamilton added: "It's amazing to see how many cameras are here. I don't remember seeing so many cameras at McLaren when we had our launch, but it's great to be here.

"I'd already seen the car in the wind tunnel, so I'm not surprised or anything like that, but it's beautiful. I love the paint job. There are lots of details coming, more upgrades at some point, and now I'm just excited to get back in the car."

Rosberg, who clinched Mercedes's only victory to date in China last year, has vowed there are more to come. "The car seems to be performing well in the virtual world, but we have a very busy and intense programme ahead of us during testing to make sure we can deliver that performance on track," he said.

"The atmosphere in the team is very positive and the people are highly motivated to succeed.

"And, of course, I have a new team-mate with Lewis. It's his first time in the Silver Arrow and I look forward to working together and pushing each other hard, to make this the best team in Formula One."

Lewis Hamilton begins Mercedes campaign with an open mind | Sport | The Guardian
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