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Hamilton confirmed as Alonso's teammate

Lewis Hamilton has been confirmed as Fernando Alonso's teammate at McLaren next season

The team made the announcement on Friday morning, ending months of speculation about whether the GP2 champion would be handed his Formula One chance next season.

"It's a dream come true," said Hamilton. "To be racing in Formula One with McLaren has been the ultimate goal for me since I was very young and this opportunity is a fantastic way to end what has been the best year for me.

"I have grown up with McLaren and Mercedes and wouldn't be where I am today without their continued support and guidance. However I'm aware that this will be a challenge and I know that there will be a lot of attention on me.

"However the team has told me just to relax, do the best I can and enjoy the opportunity. I will work hard to get good results."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis, who has looked after Hamilton's career for several years, has been coy about his future driver plans ever since it became clear that Kimi Raikkonen would be leaving.

And although there was intense pressure from the media, particularly the British, for Dennis to hand Hamilton his chance, Dennis always said that he would make the decision in his own time.

The concern was that Hamilton would be faced with too-high expectations making his debut alongside double world champion Alonso.

Dennis has said, however, that he is confident Hamilton will deliver all that is required of him.

"It's obviously going to be the biggest challenge of Lewis's career so far but it's one that we are sure he will be able to meet," explained Dennis. "He is coming into the paddock for the first time as a Formula One racing driver and will have to familiarise himself with the pressures of a Grand Prix weekend.

"However the confidence we have in Lewis's abilities and talent is clear from our decision to give him the chance."

Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug added: "Lewis is a gifted driver who proved his talent with two consecutive title wins - 2005 in the Formula Three Euroseries in a Dallara Mercedes and this year in the GP2 Series.

"McLaren and Mercedes-Benz have supported Lewis already for nine years. He was half as tall as he is today when he started in karting. It's clear that Lewis has less experience in comparison to the other 21 Formula One drivers in Grand Prix cars.

"However extensive tests during the coming months will prepare him for his first season - I am very glad that a guy like him gets his deserved chance."

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