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Hamilton to be McLaren 'lead driver' in 2008
(GMM) Six months after causing a furore by suggesting he was a "number two" driver, Lewis Hamilton says he is ready to step up as McLaren's "lead driver" in 2008.

McLaren came under intense media and even FIA scrutiny after the prestigious Monaco grand prix in May primarily because the 22-year-old rookie suggested he finished second due to the fact that he is the team's "number two" driver.

"I've got number two on my car," he said, referring to his then teammate, Fernando Alonso, who brought with him from Renault the number one.

"I am the number two driver," Hamilton, disappointed to have been asked not to challenge Alonso for the win, bluntly added.

But with Alonso now departed, ironically after suggesting that it was Hamilton who in fact enjoyed preferential treatment at Ron Dennis' team, the Briton says he will now move up a notch at McLaren ahead of next season.

"It is quite a challenge for me, I am taking the seat of Fernando, I am taking the lead role, as lead driver," he told the veteran talk show host Michael Parkinson in a post-season interview.

After the Monaco incident, team boss Dennis suggested that rookie Hamilton "makes the odd mistake" in his dealings with the press.

"But he's learning quick and he's becoming very professional at dealing with the inevitable efforts of the media to get the sound bite," he added.
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