Lewis Hamilton has been confirmed as the second race driver for McLaren in 2007, alongside World Champion Fernando Alonso. Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett will continue as test drivers for the team. “It’s a dream come true,” Lewis said. “To be racing in Formula 1 with McLaren has been the ultimate goal for me since I was very young and this opportunity is a fantastic way to end what has been the best year for me.”
Lewis Hamilton has been with McLaren since he was young – he has been a part of their Young Driver Support Programme since it’s creation in 1998. In 2003, Hamilton won 10 out of the 15 races in the Formula Renault Championship. In 2006, Lewis was crowned champion of the GP2 series having won 5 out of the 22 rounds.
Pedro de la Rosa said he understood the team’s decision to give Hamilton the race seat. “I have really enjoyed the opportunity to race for Team McLaren Mercedes for the last eight races of the 2006 season, however I have always been aware that the team might decide to give another driver the same opportunity, so the fact that Lewis will be in the car comes as no surprise. Obviously I would have preferred to race myself but also understand why the team has decided to put Lewis in the car. I wish him all the best and look forward to continue working with him.”
The Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Norbert Haug, said “Lewis is a gifted driver who proved his talent with two consecutive title wins – 2005 in the Formula 3 Euro Series in a Dallara Mercedes and this year in the GP2 Series. McLaren and Mercedes-Benz have supported Lewis already for nine years. He was half as tall as he is today when he started in karting. It’s clear that Lewis has less experience in comparison to the other 21 Formula 1 drivers in Grand Prix cars. However extensive tests during the coming months will prepare him for his first season – I am very glad that a guy like him gets his deserved chance.”