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F1 NEWS 

Hamilton praises McLaren team effort

Lewis Hamilton celebrates at the Chinese GPLewis Hamilton praised his McLaren team after dominating the Chinese Grand Prix to go into the final race of the season with a seven-point lead in the standings.

The Briton made a perfect start from pole position and never looked back, crossing the finish line over 14 seconds ahead of championship rivals Felipe Massa, the only other driver who can still win the title.

Hamilton thanked his team for giving him such a strong car.

"All weekend we have had God on our side as always, and the team did a phenomenal job preparing the car, making steps forward, the car felt fantastic here all weekend," said Hamilton.

"I owe so much to the guys, not just at the track but back home. The car is a dream to drive and for the guys here they made sure the car stays intact so I can bring it home. It was a fantastic team effort here this weekend."

He added: "It was quite straightforward. It was a great start, one of the best we have had this year. I got into Turn 1 clear, took it easy the first few corners and then I started to build the gap.

"Fortunately we were very consistent, every lap was faster. I was able to create a gap and from there it was pretty smooth sailing."

The McLaren driver admitted he had the race under total control following his final pitstop.

"After my second pitstop we were pretty much cruising, looking after the tyres and looking after the engine. I knew I had a bigger gap behind me.

"It was inevitable that Kimi would let Felipe by. It wasn't tough at all. If you are at the front and have that gap, it was about keeping head and keeping calm."

Hamilton, who will need to finish in fifth place to secure the title in Brazil, said he is expecting Ferrari to be stronger in the final race of the season.

"This is another step towards the championship and my dream and my team's dream," he said. "The team deserve it, we have worked very, very hard through the season.

"Our approach to this race was right, it wasn't to win everything in this race, it was to look at both races and score as many points consistently.

"Going to Brazil it will be a different situation to last year and we know we have to do a good job. It will be tough. These two will be pushing us hard. I am sure as a team we can pull through."

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