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    Hamilton aims for the sky

    Melbourne: Three world titles would satisfy Lewis Hamilton but he has not ruled out winning eight or more to take his place in the pantheon of motorsport greats, the British Formula One driver told reporters on Thursday.

    The 26-year-old, who won his only world title in 2008, admitted he would probably not be on the front row of the grid in Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix after reliability problems disrupted McLaren's testing programme.

    His ambition is undimmed, however, and would welcome another two titles to match Brazilian Ayrton Senna, six more to equal Michael Schumacher and rallying's Sebastien Loeb, or eight more to put him on a par with motorcycling's Valentino Rossi.

    "I have no number, the sky's the limit, as many titles as I can get in the time I'm here," he told reporters.

    "You look at Sebastien Loeb, you look at Rossi, Michael, the legendary racers from their eras and their classes and I would love to be part of that.

    "I'm not saying eight is what I want. I've always wanted to win three world championships like Ayrton Senna, I've always wanted to emulate him.

    "That would be the start," he added with a laugh. "Winning a second world championship is hard enough, so we'll focus on that for now."

    Hamilton is hoping the new exhaust system and other changes McLaren have made to their car this week will give him more grip on Sunday as he goes in search of his 15th race win at the start of his fifth season with the team.

    "We've always faced difficulties," he said. "We're faced with a challenge but we're looking at it positively.

    "My guys have not given up... they've made every attempt to improve the car, hopefully we're not too far behind.

    "I've won a race in every season I've raced in, we've had the ability to pull through whatever the circumstances have been and win races."

    "Maybe we won't be on the first row this weekend but that doesn't mean that later on - one, two, three, four races - we cannot be competing for more wins.

    "It's race one, nobody has seen what anybody can do. We don't know the true pace of our car. And more so now with this new upgrade."