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Last Updated: Monday, 17 December 2007, 07:33 GMT
Hamilton team-mate expects parity
Heikki Kovalainen and new team-mate Lewis Hamilton
Kovalainen said he expects a healthy rivalry with Hamilton
Heikki Kovalainen says he is confident of being treated equally with team-mate Lewis Hamilton at McLaren next season.

The former Renault driver has swapped places with former world champion Fernando Alonso, who has left McLaren after a fractious one-year stint.

"One thing I wanted to establish before signing was that I'd be treated equally," he told BBC London 94.9.

"I think we can fight on the track as much as we can but off the track we can laugh about it."

Heikki is a decent guy, Lewis is a decent guy, so I'm sure they'll get on well

Anthony Hamilton

Hamilton had a remarkable debut season in Formula One, leading the championship for much of the season before finishing second to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen after a dramatic final race.

But the very publicly strained relationship between Alonso and his English team-mate gained almost as much coverage as Hamilton's achievements on the track, with the Spaniard complaining that McLaren were giving the rookie preferential treatment.

606: DEBATE

"I think in the past McLaren have treated drivers equally - including this year. I don't think it will be a problem at all," said Kovalainen, who joined Renault last season as Alonso's replacement.

"We won't have any problems - I think we can help the team go forward."

Hamilton's father Anthony also said he was looking forward to a more peaceful 2008 season, after the drama of the relationship with Alonso and the spying row with Ferrari.

"I don't expect any issues with team-mates or other teams or drivers," he said.

"We've all had a rough 2007 - I think everybody's focus next year will be: 'Let's just have a good year whoever wins' - that's what we want.

"Heikki is a decent guy, Lewis is a decent guy, so I'm sure they'll get on well. We've known him for a long time - Lewis and Heikki raced karts against each other."

Although Hamilton senior expects the duo to get along well, Honda driver Jenson Button said he expected them to be fiercely competitive with one another.

"I'm sure he (Kovalainen) is not interested in just finishing a few races in front, I'm sure he wants to go for the title," he said.

"He won't hold back just because he's got Lewis as a team mate. I think it's good for both of them."



SEE ALSO
Kovalainen completes McLaren move
14 Dec 07 |  Formula One
McLaren admission ends F1 spy row
13 Dec 07 |  Formula One
Alonso opts for return to Renault
10 Dec 07 |  Formula One
Heikki Kovalainen column
01 Nov 07 |  Formula One


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