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DATE News (chronologically)
03/18/07
f1
Hamilton 'ecstatic' after brilliant debut
Britain's Lewis Hamilton described himself as "ecstatic" with his superb rookie debut performance in the Australian Grand Prix.  He was the first driver since Jacques Villeneuve in 1996 to stand on a podium on his debut.

"It has been a fantastic day for me," said Hamilton.

"To lead in my first grand prix was an amazing feeling.

"I had Fernando behind me for a long time, and it is extremely tough when you have a two-time world champion behind you, especially in your first race."

Alonso admitted afterwards that he was "fortunate" to have taken second from Lewis, who was held up on his final in-lap by Super Aguri driver Takuma Sato.

"A bit unfortunate really in the second stop," Hamilton said.

"I don't know what happened there, I think the stop went fine, but coming up on backmarkers was pretty tough.

"It was all a new experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

"I got a pretty decent start, but the BMWs seemed to be extremely quick off the grid and Robert Kubica passed me," he added.

"There was no way for me to stay on the inside so I thought I would dice back to the left and managed to out-brake near enough everyone.

"I managed to gain a couple of places and from there it went pretty smoothly."

"It's extremely intense," he admitted afterwards.

"You've got to make sure you make no mistakes, and sure I did make a couple of them in this run, but it is just another new experience.

"I'm ecstatic to be here. A podium in my first race. I couldn't be more happy.

"If I'm honest I've been stunned all week, because when I arrived here, Lewis looked so confident that I knew I was going to be in trouble," he said.

"I thought I'm going to need to muster all of my strength to keep cool because he just looked so comfortable with the car.

"He'll approach Malaysia in exactly the same way.

"I mean fourth on the grid in your first grand prix, at a circuit you've never been to before, and then finishing third and leading the race at one stage as well – well that's more than you can ever dream."

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