LONDON, May 31 (Reuters) - Monaco Grand Prix winners Mercedes can triumph again this season and must not let a tyre-testing controversy distract them, Lewis Hamilton said on Friday.
“I really do feel that this team is just going to continue to improve through the year,” the 2008 Formula One world champion said at a promotional media day for next month’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
“Once we understand these tyres more, which we will eventually get to, then I think another win is definitely on the books,” he told Sky Sports News television.
Mercedes won in Monaco with Germany’s Nico Rosberg, who also secured the team’s fourth successive pole position, while Hamilton finished fourth. The victory was Mercedes’s first since China in April last year.
The victory was clouded, however, by the revelation that Mercedes had tested with Pirelli earlier in the month without telling other teams and seemingly in breach of the sporting regulations that ban teams from in-season testing.
After a protest by world champions Red Bull and Ferrari, the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) is now considering whether to send the matter to an international tribunal that could impose heavy sanctions.
Mercedes and Pirelli have both denied doing anything underhand or gaining any competitive advantage over rival teams from the Barcelona test.
“I think it’s important that we just stay focused and don’t be distracted by a lot of stuff that’s around us,” said Hamilton, who made his F1 debut in 2007 when McLaren were fined a record $100 million and excluded from the constructors’ championship for a spying controversy involving Ferrari data.
“It’s so easy to do that (be distracted), and especially for the drivers and the team when we are at the track,” continued the Briton, who is in his first season with Mercedes after leaving McLaren.
“I think it’s important we just keep our minds clear and just keep doing the job at hand.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)