Hamilton: My dream start

PUBLISHED: 10:04 16 March 2008 | UPDATED: 22:20 26 October 2009

Australian Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton laps up the applause Pictures courtesy of www.mclaren.com

Australian Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton laps up the applause Pictures courtesy of www.mclaren.com

LEWIS Hamilton described today s success in the Australian Grand Prix as a dream start to the F1 season. The 23-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver stormed to victory around the Albert Park circuit to win the first race of the 2008 Formula 1 World

Lewis Hamilton sprays some champagne after his victory earlier today

LEWIS Hamilton described today's success in the Australian Grand Prix as "a dream start" to the F1 season.

The 23-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver stormed to victory around the Albert Park circuit to win the first race of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship.

It was the fifth grand prix victory of Hamilton's 18-race career and improved on his third place debut in Melbourne last year.

Hamilton was bubbling after collecting his trophy and spraying champagne in the winners' arena.

Motorsports / Formula 1: World Championship 2008, GP of Australia , 
22 Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes),
 *** Local Caption *** +++ www.hoch-zwei.net +++ copyright: HOCH ZWEI / Juergen Tap +++

"I feel fantastic. What a dream start to the season and my championship challenge," said Hamilton, whose family live in Tewin.

After a turbulent 58 laps with three safety car periods, the motor racing superstar from Herts took the chequered flag 5.4 seconds ahead of BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld.

Nico Rosberg, driving a Williams, was third and Hamilton's new team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, who had led for eight laps and ran second for 21 laps, came home fifth.

Hamilton was disappointed not to share his victory on the podium with Finn Kovalainen, but was delighted to have old friend Rosberg alongside him.

"I am sorry not to have Heikki with me on the podium as a one-two would have been a great reward to the team," said Hamilton.

"It's nice to have Nico here though, as we have not shared a podium since our karting days with Team MBM (Mercedes-Benz McLaren)."

There's no chance of Hamilton resting on his laurels though - the next race in the world series takes place in Malaysia next Sunday.

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