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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 November 2006, 07:20 GMT
Hamilton ready for Alonso trial
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, McLaren team-mates in 2007
Alonso will be the toughest possible team-mate for Hamilton
New McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton admits he will be under heavy pressure as team-mate to world champion Fernando Alonso when he makes his debut in 2007.

Hamilton said: "I realise there is big pressure on me but I look at having Alonso as my team-mate as a positive.

"I'm looking forward to working with him. I'm not worried about it. I can only learn from him.

"He will do what he always do - drive extremely well. And I'm just going to try to do the best job I can."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis said his biggest worry about promoting Hamilton was how he would handle being teamed with Alonso.

It is important to understand how tough the challenge will be

Lewis Hamilton
"My primary concern is his mental resilience to the challenge of being up against some of the talented drivers he'll be up against - not least being the team-mate of the current world champion," Dennis said.

Hamilton, who like Dennis described Alonso as "the best", said he was under no illusions about the challenge he was facing.

"It is important to understand how tough the challenge will be," he said.

"I don't think anyone is expecting me to go out and beat Alonso straight away so in some ways it puts a little pressure off me.

"But there is the potential to be as quick as him or close to him, which will have a good impact on me.

"The key pressure is the pressure that comes from me, just the sheer determination and will to win I've always had which has driven me to success.

I will prepare myself mentally and physically as much as I can to limit the number of mistakes I make

Lewis Hamilton
"I'll have done everything to prepare for the first race, but I have to make mistakes to make me a better driver.

"That's the way it is in the sport. But I will prepare myself mentally and physically as much as I can to limit the number of mistakes I make."

McLaren have traditionally preferred not to take on drivers new to F1 because they inevitably take time to reach their potential, harming the team's chances in the constructors' championship.

But Dennis said he was "less concerned" about taking that risk on Hamilton after signing Alonso from Renault.

"Of course we have reservations; he [Hamilton] is an unproven product as it were," Dennis said.

"But we have a double champion in the other car so we don't think we're going to get lost as a result of not having experience.

"This allows us to be a little bit less concerned about giving Lewis a chance.


Alonso is joining McLaren after winning the title two years on the trot with Renault.

Hamilton said he had met the Spaniard only once, a fleeting chat at their hotel at the Turkish Grand Prix in August.

"I was having dinner with my dad," Hamilton said, "and Fernando was just leaving the restaurant and he came over and introduced himself, which was a pleasant surprise. But we didn't really say too much.

"It was funny because Michael Schumacher came up and introduced himself that weekend as well."

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