Race ace Lewis - the new kid on the grid

PUBLISHED: 10:55 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 May 2010

New face on the grid Lewis Hamilton.
Picture - www.mclaren.com

New face on the grid Lewis Hamilton. Picture - www.mclaren.com

FORMULA One will have a new face on the grid next year - race ace Lewis Hamilton. McLaren confirmed on Friday that the 21-year-old will partner world champion Fernando Alonso for the 2007 season. Lewis, who won this year s GP2 series, will become the fir

FORMULA One will have a new face on the grid next year - race ace Lewis Hamilton.

McLaren confirmed on Friday that the 21-year-old will partner world champion Fernando Alonso for the 2007 season.

Lewis, who won this year's GP2 series, will become the first black driver to compete in F1's 56-year history.

He said: "It's a dream come true.

"To be racing in Formula 1 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.

"I'm aware that this will be a challenge and I know that there will be a lot of attention on me."

He added: "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."

Lewis, who grew up in Stevenage, has been involved in motor racing since he was eight, when his father Anthony bought him a go-kart.

After a number of go-kart titles, he was snapped up by McLaren group chairman and chief executive officer Ron Dennis at the age of 13.

He signed for the team's young driver support programme, and continued to progress through the go-karting ranks, picking up various international championships and accolades along the way.

Lewis then stepped up to the British Formula Renault Championship, then on to the Formula 3 Euro Series and, this year, GP2, which is the feeder series for F1.

Mr Dennis said: "Since 1998 Lewis has formed an important part of our long-term strategy and we are pleased that we are able to help him take another step and achieve his dream of becoming a Formula One racing driver.

"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."

Lewis is testing in Barcelona this week in preparation for the 2007 season, which starts in Australia in March.

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