Fuji a complete mystery for Hamilton

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton will be plunging into unknown territory at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix

Fuji a complete mystery for Hamilton

The 22-year-old Briton, aiming to become the first rookie since 1950 to win the Formula One title, admitted on Wednesday he knows virtually nothing about the Fuji Speedway circuit.

"I haven't seen the circuit," the championship leader told a news conference for tyre makers Bridgestone. "I know it has got a very long straight but I don't know what to expect."

Hamilton leads Spanish teammate and double world champion Fernando Alonso by two points in the drivers' standings with just three races of the 2007 season left.

McLaren were fined $100 million and stripped of their 2007 constructors' points by Formula One's governing FIA earlier this month for being in possession of Ferrari technical data.

But feuding teammates Hamilton and Alonso escaped punishment in return for providing evidence over the spy saga.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, winner of the last Grand Prix in Belgium, is third in the title race 13 points behind Hamilton.

Despite the significance of Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton insisted he had not even familiarised himself with the new-look Fuji layout on a computer game.

"I haven't - but my brother's been round it on the PlayStation," he said, smiling. "I always dreamed of racing at Suzuka but when I arrived in Formula One they told 'we don't do Suzuka anymore'.

"I was a bit disappointed but it's still a great experience coming to a circuit everyone is new to. It should be a great race."

Toyota-owned Fuji, boasting the dramatic backdrop of a snow-capped Mount Fuji, replaced Suzuka on the Formula One calendar for 2007 after a 30-year absence.

Hamilton, who has won three races in his debut F1 season, shrugged off the pressure on him to preserve his slender lead over Alonso this weekend.

"It's important to stay relaxed and calm and to remember it is my first year in Formula One," said Hamilton.

"I'm still 22. It's been quite a strange experience to realise I can win in Formula One and for the championship to become a reality. It's been phenomenal."

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