Lewis Hamilton has told former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso that he looks forward to battling him on track in 2008, insisting that the Spaniard would remain a force wherever he winds up next season.

Speaking to BBC Radio, the British sensation admitted that he was excited to discover the identity of his new team-mate, but admitted that he still respected two-time world champion Alonso, despite their acrimonious relationship in 2007.

"To be honest, I just wish him all the best for the future," Hamilton insisted on Chris Evans' Drivetime show, "I don't know where he's going to be going, but I spoke to him recently and said I looked forward to racing him next year because he'll be good wherever he is. He's an amazing driver."

Alonso's departure, which was confirmed late last week, has provided the spark that will kick-start this winter's driver market, with several candidates being listed as potential partners for Hamilton at McLaren. Although Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen feature among the favourites for the seat, there remains a push amongst British fans for Jenson Button to be sprung from his Honda contract to form a patriotic twin spearhead.

"I think that would be cool," Hamilton claimed, "I definitely wouldn't be against it. I get on very well with Jenson so, yeah, I think it would be cool...."

A brief 'yeah', issued through gritted teeth, greeted Evans' claim that it would be a novelty for him to get on with his team-mate, but Hamilton insisted that he was excited to discover the identity of his partner, who could be confirmed before the 2007 winter test programme is completed.

 

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