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Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Lewis Hamilton admits to mishandling Fernando Alonso

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton believes his relationship with Button will be strong

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he mishandled the situation alongside Fernando Alonso during his Formula 1 rookie season at McLaren in 2007.

Hamilton told BBC Sport he had "misinterpreted and misunderstood the goals and how the team worked".

Amid bitter recriminations, Alonso left McLaren after one year but Hamilton said he would not make the same errors alongside Jenson Button in 2010.

"It's different [now]," said Hamilton. "We've learnt from experiences."

Hamilton said he would work well with Button, who arrives at McLaren as the reigning champion, just as Alonso did in 2007.

"We understand each other very well," he said.

Both Alonso and Heikki Kovalainen, the Finn who partnered Hamilton at McLaren in 2008 and '09, have claimed that McLaren focused on the Englishman to their detriment.

But Hamilton said he did not agree with their point of view.

"At the beginning of my first year I was up alongside the two-time world champion and he was seen as the guy to win the world championship and I think at the time I misinterpreted and misunderstood the goals and the understanding of how the team worked.

"But since I've been here they do everything to give us individually the best package possible. I've never had more than the guy next to me, we've always had equal opportunity, which is the greatest thing in a team.

"It's not easy to manage that, because one guy can be ahead of the other.

It's different to having the young Michael, who's at his best, but I'm sure he's going to be just as good as ever

Lewis Hamilton

"Inevitably people say things sometimes when they haven't done so well," he said. "You say things out of anger; you say things that you potentially don't mean. That's how I see it from the others."

Hamilton added that he had made mistakes in the past, and that the 2010 world title battle would be so close that winning it would depend on minimising errors.

"Having made lots and lots of mistakes in my career, hopefully this will be a year of a lot fewer!" he said.

He says he is particularly looking forward to racing against seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who comes out of retirement with Mercedes this year and has never shared a grid with Hamilton.

606: DEBATE
Eddie_Squidd aka Deadwood Woodwood

"It's different to having the young Michael, who's building his way up and is at his best. [But] I'm sure he's going to be just as good as he ever has been.

"It's great for the sport, great for the fans, and for me it's going to be a great experience to have such a legend on the track with us.

"In testing I had a little bit of time behind him [on the track], and it was crazy to think, 'This is Michael Schumacher in front of me, wow. This guy's won seven world championships and I've done it once and it was so hard.' To do it seven times is remarkable."

To listen to BBC Sport's interview with Lewis Hamilton, tune in to Radio 5 live on Thursday at 1930 on 909/693 MW.



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see also
Hamilton father ends manager role
02 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari the big threat - Hamilton
01 Mar 10 |  Formula 1


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