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McLaren duo vow to move forwards

Lewis Hamilton insists he will be working hard with his McLaren-Mercedes team to try and move back to the front of the Formula One pack after a difficult pre-season for the team with its new MP4-24.

The new car has proved to be lacking in pace during the winter, with Hamilton and team-mate Heikki Kovalainen finding themselves languishing towards the bottom of the timesheets on more than one occasion during the various tests carried out through the off-season.

While the performance of the car this past week at Jerez was more encouraging, defending champion Hamilton goes into the opening round of the season as something of an outsider amongst the expected challengers for victory but he admitted he was looking forward to the first race of the year and was keen to work hard to help the team improve its performance.

“Despite weeks of winter testing, it's still difficult to know exactly who has the best package, and finding out over the weekend in Albert Park is always fascinating,” he said. “Perhaps Vodafone McLaren Mercedes doesn't come to Melbourne with the same prospects to challenge at the front that we experienced in both 2007 and '08, but the whole team will be working tirelessly to help us move back to the front.

“There is no better place to begin the FIA Formula 1 World Championship than in Australia. The weather is fantastic, the facilities are excellent and the people of Melbourne make us all feel extremely welcome. Most importantly, everyone arrives with an air of enthusiasm and expectation.”

Team-mate Kovalainen said he was also looking forward to the season-opener although, like Hamilton, he admitted there was plenty of work to be done.

“I had a great race in Melbourne last year on my debut for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,” he said. “It's a track I love – a circuit that you really have to attack with a lot of enthusiasm if you are to get the best from the car. The fast esses at the back of the circuit are probably the most demanding corners – getting it just right is a hugely satisfying feeling. Elsewhere, I enjoy the 'back to school' feeling of the new season – you meet up with everybody, share your stories from the winter and look forward to another good season.

“Everybody in our team is really motivated and, while we probably won't start the season as favourites, we will work around the clock to get back there.”


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Jenny - Unregistered

March 21, 2009 6:41 PM

Yes, they have de la Rosa, but he isn't the guy that has to push the car to the limit at GP weekends. Make no mistake, both Hamilton and Kovalainen will have to bring something to the table when it comes to solving the problems of the latest car. Testing a tricky car is all well and good, but racing it on the limit - something very different. A good technical team is something Mclaren has, but only the drivers can really explain how a car behaves on track. Great racing drivers like Senna and Schumacher were also great test and development drivers. It's part of the package.

Jenny - Unregistered

March 21, 2009 5:51 PM

Might be harder than it seems. Slow cars can be improved upon during the season, but this years cars are a blank sheet of paper so finding solutions might be difficult. And how good are Hamilton and Kovalainen at developing a difficult car? Kovalainen has experienced the less than great Renault from 2007, but Hamilton has only ever had the best machinery in the 07 and 08 Mclarens. Turning a slow car into a fast one is something neither of them have much experience of. Good luck to them though.



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