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F1 NEWS 

Hamilton not reading much into test times

Lewis Hamilton has played down the significance of outpacing McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso at Jerez in Spain last week - although is confident he is 'very close' to the world champion's speed.

Despite a crash at Valencia in Spain last month, Hamilton has shown well during the pre-season build-up and had a confidence boost last week when he edged out Alonso on the second day of Jerez last week.

But Hamilton insists he is not reading too much into that performance, especially because of varying testing programmes that he and Alonso were conducting.

"It is really difficult to compare these things and I do not read into them as we are both working on different programmes and focusing on developing these," he told McLaren's website about outpacing Alonso last week.

"This makes it very difficult to say who was fastest, but we are very close and the test was pretty good. I covered more than 100 laps on both days, which demonstrates that we are getting there with the reliability, so it is looking pretty good."

Hamilton has said he is using every opportunity he can to prepare himself for the season ahead, and if he is not testing then he makes sure he visits McLaren's factory.

"I am working very hard, and the hard work really shows in the results," he said. "I am at the McLaren Technology Centre everyday during the week when I am not testing.

"I spend as much time as possible with my engineer really studying the data and learning as much as possible which it all seems to be flowing nicely. I am just taking it all step by step and I think that is the best approach."

And he thinks that his performances in 2007 will be boosted by the presence of Alonso, whom he thinks he can learn a lot from.

"It is great to be in the same team as him as I can learn from him. When I look at the data I am able to see where I am losing and where I can gain and I think when we go to tracks like Australia and Malaysia where I have not been before, with his experience it is going to make it a lot easier for me to learn the circuit."

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