2007 Australian Grand Prix: Nice Start for Mclaren Mercedes

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Fernando Alonso, nicknamed El Nano, qualified second in the recently conducted Australian Grand Prix held in Melbourne on March 18. He was followed closely by Lewis Hamilton, who landed third. Alonso and Hamilton, who both came from Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, have given the team a nice start for the year 2007.

Alonso, a Spanish Formula One racing driver and reigning, two-time, world champion, has won the World Driver's Championship title at the age of 24 years and 58 days, hence breaking Emerson Fittipaldi's record of being the youngest F1 champion. He also ended Michael Schumacher's run of five consecutive championships. Hamilton, on the other hand, is a British Formula One racing driver, who has debuted at the Australian Grand Prix.

"What a great way to start the season and my career as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver. Of course it's always better to win but Kimi was a little bit quicker than us today, but we scored the maximum points that were possible, and I'm really pleased," Alonso said. "My start was a bit strange with both BMWs being very quick off the line, and I was so busy defending my line from Heidfeld on the outside that it was not possible for me to defend the corner."

He added, "I was then behind the Lewis for a while and was just focusing on keeping up with him and sometimes dropping back to allow the car to cool down. I took second after the second pitstop as I was able to stay out for an additional two laps. Originally it was meant to be one lap but because I was behind Lewis I managed to save enough fuel for one more lap. Both of the Bridgestone Potenza tyre options worked well. We will now continue to work hard to give us the best opportunity to beat Ferrari at the Malaysian Grand Prix."

Hamilton, the first black driver to start a F1 race, said, "I'm absolutely ecstatic - today's result is more than I ever dreamed of achieving on my Grand Prix debut. A big thank you to the team who have worked so hard during the winter to make sure I was as prepared as I possible could be. I made a good start but the BMWs were quick off the line and Kubica managed to get past. There was no room on the inside so I got on the left and managed to outbrake both Kubica and Fernando coming into the first corner to take third."

Hamilton added, "The race was intense, and I was working very hard. I made a few mistakes but nothing major and really enjoyed myself. It was great to lead the race for a few laps, but I knew it was only a temporary thing. Fernando got past me in the second pitstop as he was able to stay out a bit longer and I lost some time behind backmarkers. We now have a lot of work ahead of us with the Malaysia test and the rest of the season, but there is no doubt that we can build from what has been achieved today."

Norbert Haug, the vice president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, said, "The season started well with Fernando and Lewis scoring 14 points out of 18 possible on their debut race for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Fernando showed with his performance exactly why he is the double world champion whilst Lewis made a perfect start to his Grand Prix career and proved absolutely worthy of the confidence we have had in him for the past ten years." The team is looking forward to another thrilling race that boasts greater acceleration and accuracy in braking, which are more than what could offer.

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