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Page last updated at 05:22 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 06:22 UK
Spanish Grand Prix
Circuit de Catalunya, Montmelo, 25-27 April, 2008

Hamilton gives the thumbs up
Hamilton finished on the podium for the first time since the season-opener

Lewis Hamilton acknowledged there was work to be done to close the gap on Ferrari after he finished third behind Kimi Raikkonen in Spain.

But he said it was great to be back on the podium after poor showings in Malaysia and Bahrain.

"There are areas where we definitely need to improve," said Hamilton, who is nine points behind leader Raikkonen in the drivers' championship.

"But it's comforting to know that we are relatively close to Ferrari."

Less than 0.4 sec separated the top six cars in qualifying, including the Ferraris of Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, Hamilton and McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen.

"It's great to see a few more teams a lot closer - in qualifying the top six were all bunched up," Hamilton continued.

We had two bad races - to come back on the podium is fantastic

Lewis Hamilton
"It's great for the sport - it's what motor racing's all about.

"That's when the teams need to find more millions to find another 10th of a second so I'll go and push the bosses."

After finishing fifth in Malaysia then a woeful 13th three weeks ago in Bahrain, Hamilton is upbeat as the F1 circus prepares to move to Istanbul for the Turkish GP on 11 May.

"It's good to be back," he added. "We had two bad races - to come back on the podium is fantastic."

Despite his improved form, Hamilton lost further ground to championship leader Kimi Raikkonen, whose win for Ferrari extended his lead over the Englishman to nine points after just four races.

But Raikkonen played down his advantage, which he has built thanks to two wins from the first four races.

"It doesn't change anything," the Finn said. "It's good to have these points, but there is a long way to go.

"You have one bad race and it's all gone. There's a little safety in it if you end up not finishing one race because it's not totally disastrous afterwards.

"We just need to try to keep it going, and improve the gap."

Hamilton's state of mind had been the subject of speculation before the Spanish event following his problems in Malaysia and Bahrain, but he rejected claims he had needed to pay extra attention to getting his season back on track.

"Mistakes happen," he said. "It was one of those character-building things, a learning curve I guess.

"But I didn't feel I had to come here and do anything extra or do anything different. You know what I can do. I don't feel I needed to prove it.

"I just wanted to do a solid job for the team and get points, and I'm really happy with where we've come, especially after a qualifying performance that was not the best.

"But to see the reliability of the car, how much we could push at the end and the pace of the car improving throughout the race, that was quite encouraging."

Hamilton also had to deal with seeing Kovalainen being attended by medical crew during the race following a 150mph crash, from which he has emerged unhurt.

"During the race I saw a car had gone into the barriers and was told it was Heikki," he said.

"As soon as the team knew he was OK, [team boss] Ron [Dennis] came on the radio and told me, which was a great relief.

"I look forward to the Turkish Grand Prix, where hopefully Heikki will be back in his usual fine form."

see also
Raikkonen cruises to Spanish win
27 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Kovalainen escapes 150mph crash
28 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Ecclestone ups pressure on Mosley
27 Apr 08 |  Formula One

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