LONDON, March 9 – England's 2008 Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is keen to avoid last season's pitfalls and insists that he has no plans on losing this time round as he tries to dethrone compatriot and now fellow McLaren team-mate Jenson Button.The 25-year-old’s defence of his title last year was virtually derailed from the start with an under-par car being outclassed by Button in the Brawn team, which saw Hamilton not finish on the podium for the first 10 races.
However, Hamilton, rejuvenated by getting back with his rockstar girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and having relieved his father Anthony of his managerial responsibilities, is in no mood to play second fiddle to Button or indeed for that matter Germany’s seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, who makes his return to the sport after a three year hiatus this weekend.
"I don’t plan to lose," said Hamilton, who finished last season strongly.
"I’ve had a good year of being at the back, which was a good experience of losing, so I don’t think it will be a problem.
"I’m in a much stronger position as a human being and as a man to be able to cope with it from my experiences last year.
"I know how to pull away from it, to analyse and to push the team forward even faster than we did last year.
"But don’t worry, we won’t be there."
Hamilton, winner of 11 Grand Prix’ from his 52 starts and with 17 pole positions ta boot, was keen to emphasise that he was going to enjoy a far better relationship with 30-year-old Button than he had with Spain’s two-time world champion Fernando Alonso in 2007.
"Working with him (Button), he is probably one of the easiest people to get on with I know," said Hamilton.
"He is very professional, and I was blown away by how polite and well-mannered he is, which shows he has real good family values."
However, that apart Hamilton is not going to be giving Button – winner of seven of his 172 races – any quarter when they get out onto the track.
"I’m happy to put my hands up and say when I’ve been beaten, and I have lost a race to a team-mate, but not a championship," remarked Hamilton.
"At some stage it could happen, but I will just do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t.
"This season I’m not starting off on the wrong foot which could lead me to that place, but you never know what’s going to happen.
"I just have to take the rough with the smooth, but I’m looking forward to the challenge."