NOVEMBER 24, 2006

Hamilton gets the McLaren!

Lewis Hamilton has been confirmed as the second McLaren driver in 2007. The 21-year-old Briton, who won this year's GP2 champion, becomes has had his career nurtured by McLaren boss Ron Dennis since the age of 13.

"To be racing in Formula 1 with McLaren has been the ultimate goal for me since I was very young," Hamilton said. "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. 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."

The announcement means that Pedro de la Rosa will become the team's full-time test driver once again. This year he raced a number of times after Juan Pablo Montoya left the team.

"Pedro has done an outstanding job for us this season but we felt it was the right time to provide Lewis with this opportunity," said Ron Dennis. "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. 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."