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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 20:48 GMT 21:48 UK
Hamilton enjoys McLaren session
Lewis Hamilton in McLaren's Formula One car at Silverstone
Hamilton had his first taste of the McLaren on Tuesday
Lewis Hamilton helped his chances of securing a McLaren drive with an impressive display in his first two-day test for the team at Silverstone.

The 21-year-old GP2 champion was third fastest behind Renault's Nelson Piquet Jr and Heikki Kovalainen on Thursday.

His best lap of one minute and 20.158 seconds was more than a 10th of a second quicker than Pedro de la Rosa, his main rival for the McLaren seat.

"It's been an intensive week. Making my debut has been fantastic," he said.

"The session has allowed me to get a good understanding of the car, how it works, how it differs from the GP2 cars, and also to work with the team. "I had a couple of excursions into the gravel over the week, but that was just part of my learning on how far I could push the car and fortunately no damage was caused."

The Englishman and De la Rosa pair are effectively going head-to-head for the right to become McLaren's second driver next season.

They look set to get another chance at the next test session at Jerez in Spain on 11 and 12 October.

However, McLaren team boss Ron Dennis is unlikely to announce the partner for Fernando Alonso, who is replacing Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the season, until after this year's final race in Brazil later next month.

Former test driver De la Rosa would seem to be in pole position, having filled in for McLaren since Juan Pablo Montoya left the team mid-season to join the American Nascar circuit.

But Hamilton is seen as a rising star and the team has been grooming him for several years.

SEE ALSO
Hamilton hopes McLaren take risk
14 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Hamilton 'ready for Formula One'
11 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Ferrari reveal Raikkonen signing
10 Sep 06 |  Formula One
McLaren start Hamilton on F1 road
10 Sep 06 |  Motorsport
De la Rosa seat safe for season
26 Aug 06 |  Formula One
Hamilton assured of future in F1
27 May 06 |  Formula One


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