by Russell Atkins

Lewis Hamilton has dismissed the menace of a resurgent Ferrari ahead of his maiden home grand prix at Silverstone this weekend, and insists the recent furore surrounding the spying row will not cause him to take his eye off the ball.

Although the two scarlet machines thoroughly dominated last weekend's French Grand Prix, and showed encouraging pace in testing last month at the high-speed Northamptonshire circuit, the world championship leader is adamant McLaren-Mercedes are more than capable of handling the challenge, as he seeks to preserve his 14-point advantage in the drivers' title chase.

"I'm not worried about the Ferraris," the 22-year-old stressed. "Granted, they are extremely quick and competitive, but you should never underestimate McLaren. We are a very strong team and the MP4-22 is totally our car, with nothing else on it."

Whilst acknowledging he would not be in for an easy march to the top step of the podium in Britain, Hamilton asserted he would be giving it his all to triumph in front of his partisan supporters, after returning home to a hero's welcome this week.

"I'm coming to my first grand prix in my home country leading the word championship and in a British team," he enthused. "It couldn't be any better! I'm on a high the whole time and constantly buzzing.

"Of course there's a lot of pressure, but I've just got to try and get as many points as I can and I would love to get a win in my home event. I always push to the last lap; the game plan is definitely to win."



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