Hamilton happy to wait for testing return

Lewis Hamilton is happy to wait until next month for his testing return with McLaren, as he tries to avoid the burn-out that left him drained him at the start of 2008

Hamilton happy to wait for testing return

The world champion is not scheduled to return to the cockpit until McLaren's new MP4-24 is up and running, but he thinks the lengthy break away from action will help him in his preparations to defend his crown.

"I've learned from last season that I did so much at the beginning and the end of the season that I had nothing left in me really," Hamilton told autosport.com. "I am surprised I was even ready for the first race.

"So I am managing it better this year, and making sure I rest up. I've just started training again, and I'm not doing the testing this year. I will do the testing next year when the new car comes - and I am looking forward to it."

Hamilton, who picked up the International Racing Driver of the Year trophy at the Autosport Awards last weekend, thinks he will have to wait until the 2009 season-opener in Australia for his success this season to really hit home.

"It still hasn't sunk in," he said. "When I first signed for McLaren and first told I had got the drive, it never sunk in until I got to that first race, and then I realised, 'wow I am really here'.

"I think the same thing will happen again. I will get to the first race next year and it may hit me there. I think when it hits me it will just be a satisfying feeling, but one that will keep me going for a long time."

Hamilton is also full of enthusiasm for the challenge posed by next year's regulations.

"F1 has never been as exciting as it is now. It is great to be a part of it. With the new regulations, my guess is as good as yours as to what will happen.

"It is a new challenge for everyone to see who pulls out on top, and who does the best job. I have every confidence in my team that they will be able to do that, and it will be amazing to do it again. But just to be competing I am very proud."

He also sent his thanks to Autosport readers for voting him as their international driver of the year for the second time.

"It's very overwhelming the whole experience that I am having," he said. "It has been since I got to F1, and to now be world champion it is very, very surreal to be sitting there when people call out, 'the youngest world champion'.

"It's crazy and never in a million years would I have thought that would be possible. But then to be awarded for the second year in a row International Driver of the Year, it is incredible. It has to be voted, so I am just very, very proud and thankful for the people who support me, and for Autosport who do a great job."

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