Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)


Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)


Article excerpt

LEWIS HAMILTON believes he can win the Formula One drivers' title this season because his McLaren team and rivals Ferrari now have "equal cars".

The pace of Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari helped him steal in to take the world title ahead of rookie Hamilton and his then McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso last season.

But Hamilton believes improvements made to his team's car will prove crucial in the forthcoming season.

"This year is going to be different," said the 23-year-old.

"I don't have any doubts that I am going to do a good job, but it means something different. It means I want to win it.

"With the package we have I doubt it very much that Kimi will run away with it.

"What Ferrari have is a very good car. But if you look at last year in the Barcelona testing, there was a bigger gap, three to four-tenths between us. This year I think it is a lot closer. We have equal cars."

The new season starts with the Australian Grand Prix a week tomorrow - and Ferrari star Raikonnen is in no mood to give up his title.

"Anyone who thinks I'm now happy and satisfied is mistaken," he warned.

"It has never been fun for me to drive for a fifth or sixth-place finish. I'm here to win."

And that will be with Ferrari and no other team, for he added: "I can well imagine that Ferrari will be the last team in my career. Why should I consider leaving?

"I have a contract for two more years, and as I've said before, I am not in a hurry to sign any new contracts.

"If I wanted I could sign a new contract tomorrow, but I will see what it feels like.

"Before I finish this contract I will make a new plan, but so far I enjoy Formula One and I'm very happy with the team.

"I like working with the people, but we will see what happens in the future."

The fact Raikkonen won the title in his debut season with Ferrari when a year ago he was in unfamiliar surroundings with a new car, new team-mate and new engineers merely strengthens his hand for this year. …

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