Two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen believes Lewis Hamilton has made a mistake in jumping ship at McLaren to join Mercedes, the two-time champion believing the Woking outfit is heading for glory this year.
"I have a strong feeling McLaren are on top form this year," he BBC Radio 5 Live. "Mercedes were not exactly up to the speed I expected them to be," he continued, referring to last week's first pre-season test, "so I don't see them competing too much this year.
"With the first test you never really get a 100 per cent picture of exactly where the performance of the car is. It's a bit too early," the Finn admitted. "I believe at the next test in Barcelona, that is going to be more interesting to see who is at the top of the list.
Referring to Hamilton's move to Brackley, having been involved with the Woking team since he was thirteen, Hakkinen, himself a champion with McLaren said: "McLaren is a great team, they are always targeting victory and are just a fantastic team. So for him to go to Mercedes, I think we will know better half way through the season, but I think Lewis is thinking for the long-term anyway. They've had quite a few bad years so they really need to start producing good results this year in my opinion.
"Testing did not start well for them, there was a brake failure and Lewis crashed, so it was a bad start. But testing is testing and if one driver is running with a full tank of fuel then your lap times can be two or three seconds slower easily. So testing can sometimes be misleading."