Hamilton's 'cool' birthday present

PUBLISHED: 16:44 07 January 2008 | UPDATED: 22:03 26 October 2009

Picture Courtesy of www.mclaren.com

Picture Courtesy of www.mclaren.com

FORMULA One superstar Lewis Hamilton got the perfect 23rd birthday present in Germany today - a new McLaren car to drive. The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team unveiled their MP4-23 for the 2008 season at the famous Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart on Monda

Picture Courtesy of www.mclaren.com

FORMULA One superstar Lewis Hamilton got the perfect 23rd birthday present in Germany today - a new McLaren car to drive.

The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team unveiled their MP4-23 for the 2008 season at the famous Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart on Monday.

Hamilton, the rookie from Tewin that took F1 by storm last season, was joined on stage at the official presentation by new McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, who replaces Spaniard Fernando Alonso, and test drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett.

The Herts racing hero was runner-up in the FIA F1 World Championship in his debut season last year and is now the unofficial number one driver for McLaren following ex-world champion Alonso's acrimonious departure.

Hamilton said: "The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 is the coolest birthday present you can get, well it is for me anyway!

"To see the car for the first time at such a great place as the Mercedes-Benz Museum makes it an even more memorable day."

Since being mobbed by home WGC fans at the Howard Centre during his recent book signing at Maher, Hamilton has collected a string of awards and spent time with his Tewin-based family.

He's now eager to get back to the serious stuff of racing with the first grand prix in Australia on March 16.

"I have had the past three weeks off and spent the time training and relaxing with family and friends," said Hamilton.

"I know how much work has been going on in Woking, Brixworth and here in Stuttgart and it is a great looking car.

"My engineer has told me that approximately 14,000 manufacturing man hours have been involved to produce the car in time for today."

Hamilton's new driving partner Kovalainen was delighted to be unveiled as part of the team after joining McLaren just before Christmas.

The Finnish driver said at the car launch: "Today is my first official event as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver and it hasn't come soon enough.

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