Tough Australian GP qualifying challenge ahead for F1 champ Hamilton

LEWIS Hamilton is aware his McLaren car is not quite up to scratch – but believes he has the necessary experience in starting further down the field to remain competitive. Hamilton was well off the pace in Friday s two practice sessions for the Australian

LEWIS Hamilton is aware his McLaren car is not quite up to scratch - but believes he has the necessary experience in starting further down the field to remain competitive.

Hamilton was well off the pace in Friday's two practice sessions for the Australian Grand Prix.

Since the Tewin racer joined Formula 1 in 2007, Lewis has been used to fighting it out at the top of the pack, with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes being a consistent points-scoring outfit.

However, ahead of the 2009 season opener in Melbourne on Sunday, the McLaren mechanics find themselves with lots of work still to be done to push both the cars up to optimum performance level.


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And there is the very realistic possibility - for the short term at least - that Herts speedster Hamilton, 24, will find himself in the largely unaccustomed position of being towards the middle or even back of the grid after qualifying.

The 2008 F1 world champion said: "I think it's tough for anyone, but we've got a lot of experience as a team.

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"But personally I've got a lot of experience of running at the back in other categories, so it's not completely new to me and we have had some races where I have been a bit further back.

"But for sure we're not in the place where we would rather be, but we're working extremely hard, as hard as we can and it's actually a good opportunity for us to try and turn it round."

Lewis finished in 16th and 18th position in Friday's two practice sessions around Albert Park, with Williams driver Nico Rosberg topping both.

Hamilton added: "We've got a steep, very tough challenge ahead of us but if anyone can do it, I believe my team can and so we've just got to remain positive and keep pushing."

The Australian Grand Prix starts at 7am on Sunday.

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