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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 13:50 GMT
Hamilton aims to take fewer risks
Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton says he has learned from last year's mistakes
Lewis Hamilton says he will adopt a more conservative approach this year in his quest to win the Formula One title.

The Englishman was beaten to last year's championship by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen after making crucial mistakes in the final two races of the season.

"If I'm leading the championship, I won't be pushing way over the limit to win the race," he said.

"I'll be conservative and finish with the points. I'm chasing the same dream but in a slightly different way."

Hamilton's remarks are a reference to last year's Chinese and Brazilian Grands Prix.

606: DEBATE
Andrew Benson - BBC Sport
In the penultimate race in China he slid off the track on the way into the pit lane after staying out for too long on worn tyres while in the lead.

And in the final race in Brazil he lost time on the first lap when he ran wide trying an ill-advised overtaking move on then-McLaren team-mate and title rival Fernando Alonso.

Hamilton, who is entering his second season of F1, set the fastest time in Friday's second free practice session ahead of Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

He said he was optimistic of a strong showing in the race, but that the unexpectedly hot conditions in Melbourne could cause problems.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton
Kimi Raikkonen (left) is expected to be Hamilton's main title rival
It was 38C on Friday, significantly warmer than it has traditionally been for the race, which takes place in the Australian autumn.

"I think it's going to be challenging," he said.

"In most of the winter testing we did it was quite cool. Coming here, obviously the climate is quite a bit different, so I think it's going to make it a bit harder on the tyres but easier to warm up.

"Perhaps we will see more graining [small bits of rubber tear off the surface and then stick to it, reducing grip].

"But I think everyone's in the same boat. We just have to try to manage it as well as possible. It's good preparation for next weekend (in Malaysia)."

The high ambient temperatures mean cockpit temperatures are as high as 60C, making life very difficult for the drivers.

But Hamilton said he feels in much better shape to cope with the rigours of a title assault than at this time last season.

"I think my preparation is better," he said. "Last year me and my trainer were both rookies and we did the best job we could, which was good, but there were areas we could improve on and we have done."



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