I want to be seen as a great, says Hamilton
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has said his ultimate goal in F1 is to be viewed as one of the all-times greats - and that the rivalry with Fernando Alonso is what 'excites' him most
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has said his ultimate goal in F1 is to be viewed as one of the all-times greats - and that the rivalry with Fernando Alonso is what 'excites' him most.
Hamilton is already considered very highly within the sport, but as yet he was only won the F1 drivers' title once, and he will be hoping his move from McLaren to Mercedes will allow him to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, by winning multiple titles.
"You want to be the one," he told British newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, ahead of next weekend's 2013 F1 season opening Australian Grand Prix.
"I was the one for a short period of time, as the youngest world champion, then I was toppled by Vettel. Fernando [Alonso] had his success. I expect myself to win.
"I expect myself to excel. Ultimately, I want to achieve greatness. I want to prove my abilities year after year. Michael is seen as an all-time great, Seb is, too. I want to be seen as great as well."
Meanwhile, Hamilton added that he has no regrets about his decision to move to Mercedes and given the Brackley-based team's strong showing in winter testing, this season might not be as much of a struggle as he first envisaged.
"I'm 100 per cent confident and happy with the decision that I made — and [I'm] keeping myself out of trouble!" he continued.
"It needs to be made clear that it was [actually] more lucrative [in salary] to stay with McLaren. [But] the more time I spend at the [Mercedes] factory the more excited I become.
"It's just a beautiful place to be and I'm happier with the environment I'm in. I don't have anything negative to say about McLaren — I was lucky to be given the opportunity by the team to get into F1. Had I stayed I was guaranteed to be competitive.
"Yet I'm not looking to get one over McLaren. I know that I have gone to a team who have been unable to compete with the car I had last year - at some races, there was a deficit in qualifying of 1.9sec from Mercedes to McLaren - but we all have a hunger to change.
"I think Mercedes will impress this year."
Pressed on how important it is for him to beat his old team and his old team-mate, Jenson Button this season, Hamilton insisted that is not his focus.
"That doesn't really excite me. The rivalry between me and Fernando excites me more [than with Jenson]. Alonso's the guy I want to beat. You also want to beat Seb, as they are the ones with most titles.
"But Alonso's the fastest driver I can see. He's also one of the most experienced. Anyone would struggle to beat him.
"Trying to finish ahead of Alonso, in a Ferrari that is actually really competitive, is a really nice challenge. And I do think the Ferrari is going to be quick this year," Hamilton concluded.