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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007, 08:47 GMT
Alonso welcomes Hamilton rivalry
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton celebrate on the podium after the Australian Grand Prix
Alonso (left) says he enjoys competition from within his team
Fernando Alonso said he was looking forward to the competition from his new McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

The world champion was second ahead of Hamilton in the Australian Grand Prix only after a race-long battle was settled at the final pit stops.

Alonso pointed to battles he had with team-mates at Renault, his former team.

"I have had similar and hopefully we can keep this level of competition inside the team all through the season," Alonso said.

"I had difficult moments with [Jarno] Trulli in 2004," Alonso said.

"He won the Monaco race and he was getting more podiums than me, and [Giancarlo] Fisichella also started the seasons better than me.

Fernando Alonso
We don't yet have the pace to be close to Ferrari

Fernando Alonso
"He won in Australia in 2005 and last year he won in Malaysia as well."

The 25-year-old was a long way behind race-winner Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari in Melbourne and said McLaren would have to improve their car if he was to battle for a third consecutive world title.

"We're here to win the world championship, we seemed to be quite comparative in qualifying and then in the race we weren't as quick as Ferrari," Alonso said.

"It's an area we are trying to improve and everybody is trying to improve on Ferrari.

"Two or three teams can fight with Ferrari in qualifying, but in the race no-one.

"We will improve the performance of the car, especially on the long runs, and I believe the car will very soon become quicker and I'm sure there is more in my hands in terms of driving.

"We keep learning with these new Bridgestone tyres, so it was difficult to manage the tyres in the race, and I hope I will improve day by day.

"It's always better to win, but it was not possible today, we don't yet have the pace to be close to Ferrari and until we arrive at that point, second place like today is the best result possible."



SEE ALSO
Hamilton 'can be world champion'
18 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton outshines Raikkonen win
18 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Debut display delights Hamilton
18 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Button glum after 'rubbish' race
18 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Kovalainen criticised by Briatore
18 Mar 07 |  Formula One


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