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F1 NEWS 

Hamilton unfazed by Coulthard comments

Lewis Hamilton has said he is not worried at all by David Coulthard's claims that his promotion to Formula One has come too early.

Coulthard told The News of the World last weekend that he believed Hamilton would have been better off spending a year testing rather than being thrust into F1 alongside Fernando Alonso next season.

"I believe McLaren have given him his break way too soon," said Coulthard. "He could face a very tough time with Alonso as his teammate.

"Alonso may be new to McLaren but he is a double world champion. The first person you are compared to is your teammate and if Lewis struggles alongside Alonso it could destroy his confidence."

Hamilton has refused to criticise Coulthard's attitude, though, and has instead said that the Red Bull Racing driver's concerns were well justified - even though he is confident he will be as prepared as he can be for his debut.

"I value David's opinion," said Hamilton, who is just 21. "He is extremely experienced and I have always looked up to him.

"In some ways he could be right, but at the end of the day I've done all I need to do coming up to F1. I have got plenty of time to do the testing pre-season and so we will have to wait and see.

"The team know I am young and it will take some time for me to get up to speed and learn. But I am young, fresh and extremely determined to do well in this sport. I want to win.

"I share the same qualities in some respects as Alonso, and I hope I can learn much from him. We will be both pushing hard to achieve great success for ourselves and the team."

Hamilton says his approach to this week's test at Barcelona in Spain, the first since he was confirmed as a McLaren race driver, is very different to his first proper runs with the team earlier this year.

"Every time I start the car up it puts a grin on my face," he claims. "I am living my dream.

"It was a slightly different feeling today than the test day I had when I was in GP2. Back then I didn't know if I was just going to be a test driver and would get my opportunity.

"Today, to come here knowing I am the driver for next year, meant I could really knuckle down on bonding with the team and my engineer. I could get on top of the car and get up to the pace.

"The fact I got the drive is still sinking in but I think that's a good thing. If it hits you in one go it could knock you off your feet."

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