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Last Updated: Sunday December 16 2007 14:03 GMT

Lewis Hamilton gets new team-mate

Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton after the Japanese Grand Prix in 2007

Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen will race alongside Lewis Hamilton as his new McLaren team-mate for 2008.

The 26-year-old is replacing Fernando Alonso who left McLaren to return to Renault after a season in which he seemed to fall out with team bosses.

Kovalainen, who also used to drive for Renault, has now signed up to a long-term contract with McLaren.

Chief executive Martin Whitmarsh said: "I think Lewis and Heikki will be a formidable combination."

Kovalainen said it was an honour to be joining the team.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton
It's thought that Alonso and Hamilton didn't get on very well

"I haven't really spent a lot of time with Lewis so far, but from what I know I think we will work well together and do our best for the team," he said.

Hamilton had an amazing first season with McLaren, finishing second in the driver's championship.

He said he was really looking forward to working with Heikki: "Together with the team we will do everything we can to ensure that our championship challenge is as strong and focused as possible."