Mercedes W04 is definitely a winner predicts Hamilton 3 March, 2013 Lewis Hamilton Having consistently played down his expectations for the 2013 Formula 1 world championship season, Lewis Hamilton is now predicting a win. Until this weekend, most pundits had been forecasting a Red Bull versus Lotus battle for the forthcoming season opener, with next-best McLaren and Ferrari perhaps slightly off the ultimate pace. But on Saturday, Lewis Hamilton exploded to the top of the times with the winter’s best laptime. Nico Rosberg then went even quicker in the first half of Sunday, the last day of running before the circus heads off to Australia. “Everywhere in the paddock, respect is being shown for Mercedes,” said Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Tobias Gruner. There are, however, outstanding questions. Didn’t Mercedes also show good pace before last season, when ultimately the 2012 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? “It’s not ‘no chance’ and not ‘definitely we will’,” Hamilton said. “We will definitely be able to win a race at some point.” Added Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg: “At the very least, Mercedes’ betting odds have changed now!” (GMM) Related NewsMercedes: It wasn’t an easy dayMercedes: Very useful day and we learned a lotVuvuzela style F1 exhaust tested by Mercedes is a flopMercedes: Our aim is to keep increasing any advantageMercedes megaphone exhaust to roar in SpainMercedes: A pretty normal test dayKovalainen set to sign as Mercedes F1 test driverHamilton: My team is stronger than ever and there’s a lot more to comeMercedes: There’s still a lot to do before we get to MelbourneRosberg worried about reliability Matthias O’keeffe Hopefully either Lewis or Nico Rosberg will win the Driver’s title this year… Senna one I think.. Merc will be.. Oh never mind.