MARCH 18, 2007
Lewis Hamilton - a star is born
McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton finished third on his Formula 1 debut in Melbourne. The 22-year-old overtook his team mate, double World Champion Fernando Alonso, at the first corner and ran second to Kimi Raikkonen for much of the race, leading when Raikkonen pitted.
Just before the second stops Hamilton found himself behind Takuma Sato's Super Aguri and lost time and that meant that Alonso was able to get ahead to take second place. Hamilton nonetheless made it home in third place, the best F1 debut since Jacques Villeneuve in 1996 and the best British finish since Mike Parkes finished second in a Ferrari at Reims in 1966. Of the other British debutants Hamilton matched Peter Arundell's third place at Monaco in 1964 in a Lotus and outshone Innes Ireland and Vic Elford who both finished fourth on their debuts.
"I'm ecstatic," said Hamilton. "It has been fantastic to lead my first Grand Prix. It was a fantastic feeling. It was extremely tough with Fernando, a two-time World Champion behind me. That is not easy in your first race. I thoroughly enjoyed it."
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