Hamilton: F1 life 'wunderbar'
NEW BFF BOTH ON AND OFF THE TRACK: Lewis Hamilton poses with new team mate Nico Rosberg. The former McLaren ace's new puppy (inset) and R280-million private will certainly boost his morale in 2013.
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
JEREZ, Spain - Lewis Hamilton has a new best friend, a private jet and a new sense of purpose as he prepares for a fresh start with Mercedes in 2013.
Hamilton says he is happy with the way 2013 is shaping up following his move from McLaren as he tests the silver F1 W04 car in Spain.
LIFE'S GOOD FOR EX-McLAREN ACE
Hamilton said: "I'm just happier. Happy I have a new challenge, happy I have a new start, happy it's a fresh chapter in my life, happy that I've got this huge challenge in front of me, happy because I've got this excitement where I don't know if the car's going to be good or bad.
"Happy and excited because I know I can contribute and, with a lot of hard work and perseverance, I think we can get there. So I'm happy about that."
Ok, so the former McLaren ace is happy...
Hamilton replaces Michael schumacher who has retired (again) following three unimpressive F1 seasons. He will have to prove how much better he is than the German racing legend.
First impressions of the new car were positive, if largely meaningless at this stage, although Hamilton already has a complaint - "too many buttons".
'JUST KEEP NAGGING'
"In this car on the steering wheel I think I've got at least double the number of buttons and switches that I had on the McLaren," said Hamilton.
"I've already got rid of quite a few but I still have way more than I had before. The engineers and just the way the team works is different to what I've experienced so it's like starting from fresh.
"Last night (Monday, January 2013) I was grilling the aerodynamicist about the car and pushing for certain things that should be added that other people have. There's not much more I can do, apart from just keep nagging."
Asked whether he would be learning any German to use in private conversations over the car radio, he said: "I know one (word) but I don't plan on using it ever. It's wunderbar. I plan on using that as much as I can."
Hamilton was less talkative about his private plane which, according to the Daily Mail, has plasma screens, a bar, pull-out bed, a personalised registration and costs the equivalent of R280-million.
NEW BEST FRIEND
The luxury jet should make it easier to spend time with his celebrity girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger in Los Angeles as well as allowing him to fly around the world with his "new best buddy" - a bulldog called Roscoe.
Hamilton said: "My mum has about five dogs, my dad has a dog as well, but I've always wanted a dog of my own. I never had the opportunity to do it so I just went for it. I've got him a passport, he's going to travel around with me. I've asked (F1 supremo) Bernie Ecclestone for a pass, so fingers crossed he'll give me it."
Whether that happens, with animals normally barred from racing circuits for safety reasons as well as their own welfare, remains to be seen.
Is Lewis finally succumbing to stardom?