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Hamilton relishes new-feel F1
March 15, 2008 15:08 IST
Lewis Hamilton [Images] stunned Formula One when he took third place on his debut in Australia last year but it will be no surprise if he wins Sunday's season-opener.
The 23-year-old McLaren driver powered to pole position on Saturday in a sign that the sport's new regulations will only play to his strengths.
In a mark of just how far he has come in 12 remarkable months, Hamilton sounded almost disappointed with his performance at Albert Park.
"I can do better, for sure," he told reporters.
"Being on pole is a great feeling but there are always improvements that you can make."
The pole position was Hamilton's seventh in 18 starts, a phenomenal strike rate.
There are plenty of former champions, and even a double champion in Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi, who did not rack up that many in their entire careers.
"It was a bit nerve-racking at the beginning and we don't really get a great lap," Hamilton said of the new-look qualifying that has cut the final part of the three-stage process to just 10 minutes.
"We were held up and it wasn't really easy to find the gap today. Finding the gap was a lot harder than I have experienced in the past."
Formula One has also ditched the traction control and electronic 'driver aids' but Hamilton said he relished the challenge.
"I really do like the new regulations that we have," he said.
"Driving with traction control is slightly different, obviously, than driving without it, but it really brings out the best in all the drivers.
"You really have to push yourself. But, you know, the feeling in the car is great. The car feels fantastic."
Hamilton's new Finnish team mate Heikki Kovalainen qualified third but revealed afterwards that it might have been very different.
"The boys [mechanics] worked last night until 5.30 a.m. as they had picked up a problem overnight and managed to fix what potentially could have been a hindrance in the race," Kovalainen said.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage