By Alan Baldwin
JEREZ, Spain (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton showed off his new silver Mercedes Formula One car with determined talk on Monday, even if the 2008 world champion was clearly still adjusting to life after McLaren.
"When I first drove in, I stopped by a McLaren and I thought it was just strange to see it and not be going to it this time," he told reporters after unveiling the F1 W04 car on the Jerez pit straight with team mate Nico Rosberg.
The 28-year-old Briton, whose ties with Mercedes go back to his teenage years in junior series, had no doubt that he was in the right place with the German manufacturer and that the future was looking bright.
"I have worked with Mercedes-Benz for a very long time now, and I learned one thing most of all: Mercedes-Benz doesn't know how to lose," Hamilton said in prepared comments.
"We are playing a long game here but I know we will have success together and I'm excited to be a big part of making it happen."
Hamilton was a team mate with old friend Rosberg before both entered Formula One and the Briton said their renewed pairing was a dream come true.
In a press release, he also gave a nod to his illustrious predecessors at the 'Silver Arrows'.
"It is an honor for me to tread in the footsteps of legends like Juan Manuel Fangio, Sir Stirling Moss and Michael Schumacher," he said.
The new car had already completed its first laps before the formal unveiling, with Rosberg at the wheel to start a 100km shakedown allowed by the regulations before official testing starts on Tuesday.
Hamilton will get his first taste later on Monday.
An evolution of last year's car, the F1 W04 has an aggressively packaged rear end while the front makes use of a 'vanity panel' to smooth out the 'broken nose' characteristic of 2012.
Team principal Ross Brawn said the car marked "the start of a second era" for the works team.
"The restructuring we undertook at the team over the past 18 months is now growing in maturity and this is reflected in the F1 W04, which is a clear step forward in design and detail sophistication over its predecessor," he added.
"Many thousands of hours of work have been invested by our technical teams in Brackley and Brixworth to ensure that the new car delivers a step change in performance compared to last season."
(Editing by Clare Fallon)