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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007, 10:08 GMT
Australian Grand Prix
Melbourne - 18 March, 2007
The Chequered Flag podcast

Lewis Hamilton on the podium after finishing third in the Australian Grand Prix
Hamilton is being tipped for great things after an impressive debut
Lewis Hamilton has marked himself out as a future world champion following his impressive Formula One debut, says his McLaren team boss Ron Dennis.

The Englishman, 22, finished third at the Australian Grand Prix after a long battle with team-mate Fernando Alonso.

Asked if Hamilton could win the world title in the future, Dennis told BBC Radio Five Live: "Anyone who watched the race must see the ingredients.

"Even a non-enthusiast would see he's going to go from strength to strength."

Hamilton had "done a phenomenal job through the weekend", Dennis said.

"He was a little bit tense an hour or so before the race, but it was short-lived. He was professional from beginning to end and it was a pretty good outcome in the circumstances."

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis
Lewis is going to take advantage of every opportunity partnering a double world champion gives him

Ron Dennis
McLaren boss
Dennis added that it was "possible" that Hamilton could win a race in his debut season.

"What we must do is take it a race at a time, and in a situation where we provide our drivers with the most competitive car there's no reason why a race won't fall into his hands," he said.

"And if that happens he won't let the opportunity go by."

And he said that partnering Alonso, world champion in 2005 and 2006, would benefit Hamilton, not put him under extra pressure.

"What better position to be in than alongside a double world champion. He's going to take advantage of every opportunity that gives him."

It has been speculated that Hamilton, who is of mixed-race origin, could have as big an impact on F1's global following as Tiger Woods has on golf's.

But Dennis played down the importance of Hamilton being the first driver in F1 of Afro-Caribbean descent.

"To me those issues are of no relevance," Dennis said. "We're in the business of winning races. Where he's come from has relevance in terms of history, but no relevance to the team."

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