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Exclusive - Hamilton and Alonso on 2007 08 Nov 2007

Second place finisher Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren celebrate with the champagne. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 27 May 2007 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mclaren on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 13 May 2007 Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 battle on track
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, United States Grand Prix, Race, Indianapolis, USA, Sunday, 17 June 2007 Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren is congratulated by second placed team mate Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren (Left).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2007 Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2007

It was the marketing man’s perfect partnership. A rookie and a world champion brought together to resurrect the fortunes of McLaren and bring the Woking-based team a ninth constructors’ title and a 12th drivers’ crown. Since Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso made their debut as team mates at the launch of the MP4-22 in January, however, a lot of has changed.

Both titles have been lost to rival squad Ferrari and the partnership, which was meant to last, has been dissolved. Following a season of infighting, intrigue and indisputable success, we caught up with the former team mates to ask them to review 2007 in their own words…

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
Championship position: 2nd (109 points)
Four wins, 6 pole positions, 2 fastest laps

“What a year! Coming from GP2, who would have thought I’d be ranked number two in my first year of Formula One. I led the world championship all the way to the last race and we did the best job we could. I think we’ve learnt so much from this year. We have had the best car. It was the most reliable one - there was not a single car breakdown all year - just a couple of hiccups from the drivers. That's a good step in the right direction. The team and I can go into next season with our heads high and I know I will do an even better job next year and come back even stronger.

“I think I set some good records this year but you know there’s still more records to be beat and there’s still a long, long way to go. I’m only 22, I’ll be here for a while and very proud to be in that team. True, in some moments it has been a bit of a rollercoaster – I don’t have to go into details - but I have enjoyed every single bit of racing and as I have said all along you have just got to look at all the positives.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Championship position: 3rd (109 points)
Four wins, 2 pole positions, 3 fastest laps

“This year I had the opportunity to win the championship again, so from that point of view the switch (from Renault) was a good decision. The team did a fantastic job to have a competitive car so I was able to fight until the last race and finished only one point behind the champion. So in that respect I think it has been a very positive season.

“Outside the car for sure we had some ups and downs, better moments and worse moments, but I think this happens in every job. I will remember this year for my four victories I had in important places, where I had not won before, like Monza, and Monaco again for a second time.

“Did we lose the championship due to strategic mistakes? Well, a championship is not lost in a single race so there are many reasons why we did not win. In Hungary I had a penalty, in Japan I didn’t finish the race after the crash, in Canada I was seventh, in Magny-Cours seventh - so for sure I didn’t arrive in Brazil with enough points to be sure of winning the championship. Hopefully for next year I’ve learnt some lessons and I’ll try again.

“For every driver, when we lose a championship we start thinking about why we lost. But we lost, so there is nothing more we can do. It’s history. The future is the place where you can change things - and the future already has begun. Looking back over my shoulder I feel quite comfortable.”