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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 April 2007, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Sepang - 8 April, 2007
The Chequered Flag podcast



Race winner Fernando Alonso sprays Lewis Hamilton with champagne on the podium
Hamilton has now finished on the podium in both his Grands Prix
World champion Fernando Alonso was in seventh heaven after claiming his maiden win for McLaren in just his second race for the team.

Alonso led home Britain's Lewis Hamilton as McLaren claimed a one-two at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

"It is a perfect result, a dream," said Alonso. "This is such a tough race but we were relaxed in the end.

"It is a wonderful surprise after such a short time with McLaren. To have wins with different teams is very special."

Alonso claimed his first victory since leaving Renault for McLaren and felt his Sepang win was another landmark in his illustrious career.

"It is very important for any driver to win his first race for a new team at a Grand Prix," said Alonso, 25.

"It's a dream come true after winning with Renault. I am proud of the team."

Alonso crossed the line more than 17 seconds ahead of Hamilton but revealed the humid conditions in Sepang had taken their toll as the race wore on.

The team did a fantastic job this weekend and I thank them for that

McLaren tyro Lewis Hamilton

"It was so tough, very tough," said the Spaniard. "You take a drink about every six laps but after a while it is like drinking tea! It is not fun to drink that anymore."

Hamilton shared Alonso's delight at McLaren's successful start to the season, and was even more surprised by his electrifying start to the season.

"I didn't really expect to be on the podium in the first two races," said the Briton.

"I always wondered when I was finally challenged by someone like Fernando or Kimi in a race whether I'd be able to defend and I managed it, so I'm really happy. Defending is 10 times harder than trying to pass someone."

606: DEBATE

Hamilton admitted it had been the "most difficult" race he had ever taken part in.

The 22-year-old rookie passed pole-sitter Felipe Massa at the first corner and then kept both Massa and Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen at bay for the rest of the race, bar the pit stops.

Hamilton said: "Seeing two Ferraris behind you knowing they are slightly lighter and quicker than you... it was very difficult to keep them behind."

Massa, who briefly managed to get back past on lap three, saw his challenge disappear on lap six when he slid off the track after trying to pass the young Englishman once again.

"Felipe (Massa) had a couple of moves to try and pass me, but, unfortunately, I was able to trick him into out-braking himself and then I was very fortunate to cut across and get in front of him again," said Hamilton.

"And then he went off and I apologise for that.

"Kimi was behind me for the rest of the race and I ran out of water and it was so tricky and it got hotter and hotter. I just kept pushing and concentrating on making no mistakes."

David Coulthard (left) and Jenson Button (far right) in Malaysia
Hamilton has put Coulthard (left) and Button (far right) in the shade

In just two races, Hamilton has eclipsed Jenson Button as the leading British contender in Formula One.

Button, however, does not have the package McLaren have equipped his young rival with and Button endured another difficult day with his under-performing Honda.

"It was a tough race and a tough weekend," said Button, who climbed his way back up to 12th after being shunted by Adrian Sutil's Spyker early on.

"Sutil drove over the side of my car which caused some damage but I was struggling with a lack of rear grip anyway.

"We adjusted the level of the front wing, adjusted the tyres and brakes, and that seemed to make a slight difference."



SEE ALSO
Massa pips Alonso to Sepang pole
07 Apr 07 |  Formula One
Barrichello wants Honda overhaul
07 Apr 07 |  Formula One


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