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De la Rosa retains McLaren seat for Brazil 13 Oct 2006

Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day Suzuka, Japan, 6 October 2006

McLaren have confirmed that Pedro de la Rosa will again race alongside Kimi Raikkonen at next weekend’s season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. The move ends media speculation over a possible Formula One debut for Lewis Hamilton at Interlagos.

De la Rosa has served as Raikkonen’s team mate since Juan Pablo Montoya's departure back in July. After scoring 18 points from his seven 2006 appearances to date, the Spaniard will now get to see out the season with the team.

“After the disappointing race we had in Suzuka, I am looking forward to getting back on track and working with the team to finish the year on a high,” said De la Rosa, who has been testing alongside Hamilton in Spain this week.

“The test in Jerez has been positive, with a lot of the focus on tyres with Michelin and as a result, we feel confident we will be able to get more out of them at Interlagos,” he added. “The track tends to be fairly abrasive on the tyres, but we are fully prepared for this.”

GP2 champion Hamilton made his McLaren test debut at Silverstone last month. His promising pace both there and at Jerez - plus the fact that McLaren can now finish nowhere other than third in the constructors’ championship - had led to predictions that he may be given a race outing in Brazil, as the team ponder who will partner new signing Fernando Alonso in 2007.