F1: Italian Grand Prix cheer for Hamilton at Monza

LEWIS Hamilton is looking for McLaren’s fans in Italy to spur him on to success in Sunday’s grand prix at Monza.

The 25-year-old Formula 1 driver from Herts won last month’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps to motor to the top of the FIA World Drivers’ Championship – three points clear of Red Bull’s Mark Webber.

Hamilton spent much of his childhood racing karts in Italy and acknowledges the country’s deep rooted passion for the sport.

And the McLaren Mercedes star hopes the team’s supporters in Ferrari’s homeland can cheer him to victory around the historic Monza circuit on Sunday.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the Italian fans this weekend,” said Tewin hero Lewis.

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“I pretty much grew up racing karts in Italy, so I’ve always appreciated and understood the passion and support of the fans for Formula 1, and motorsport in general.

“Even if it’s not always obvious, I know that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes does have a deep pocket of support in Italy.

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“So I hope the whole team can have another great race at one of the classic tracks in Formula 1.”

After taking the chequered flag at Spa, Hamilton added: “Our victory in Belgium showed that, as a team, we never give up, and that we’ll always bounce back from adversity feeling stronger and more determined than before.

“This team has such an incredible fighting spirit – we strive to win, and I hope that Spa is only the start of a run of stronger form for us as we head into the final races of the championship.”

Reigning F1 world champion Jenson Button is bullish ahead of Sunday’s 2010 Santander Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s team-mate in the McLaren garage said: “Our pace over the whole weekend in Belgium was extremely encouraging – we’re developing the car at a very rapid rate, and we’re learning more about it all the time, so I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to maintain that form in Italy.

“We still have some work to do to make sure the package we bring to Italy is perfectly suited to the track, but I’m confident that our engineers have made some good steps forward with their understanding of our car, so we should be in good shape.”

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh added McLaren, as a team, is driven by the desire to win grands prix.

“It’s no secret that there’s a tremendous amount of fight in this team – and I’m proud of every single person’s efforts to provide us with a winning edge,” said the McLaren chief.

“We know how to win races and world championships, and, clearly, we will once again be pushing for victory this weekend.”

First practice for the Italian race takes place on Friday at 9am with qualifying at 1pm on Saturday.

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