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2013-03-05 08:39

BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD: Lewis Hamilton did good on the last day of testing by getting the best lap time. Image: AFP

LONDON, England - Lewis Hamilton is now predicting wins after consistently playing down his expectations for 2013.

Until last weekend most pundits had been forecasting a Red Bull v. Lotus battle for the forthcoming season opener in Melbourne with next-best McLaren and Ferrari perhaps slightly off the ultimate pace.

RESPECT FOR MERCEDES

But on Saturday (Mar 2 2013) Hamilton raced to the top of the times with the winter's best lap time.. until Nico Rosberg went even quicker in the first half of Sunday, the last day of running before the circus heads off to Australia.

Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Tobias Gruner said: "Everywhere in the paddock, respect is being shown for Mercedes.”

There are, however, outstanding questions. Didn't Mercedes also show good pace before the 2012 season when ultimately the car fell badly off the development pace? And isn't there a huge difference between one-lap qualifying pace and the new tyre degradation-dominated grands prix?

Finally, is the W04 really a title contender?

Hamilton said: "It's not 'no chance' and not 'definitely we will'.  "We will definitely be able to win a race at some point."

Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg commented: "At the very least, Mercedes' betting odds have changed!"

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Formula 1 season – fresh reports every day.
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Read more on:    f1  |  lewis hamilton  |  nico rosberg  |  red bull  |  mercedes  |  lotus

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