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Hamilton hoping McLaren, Alonso can join 2018 F1 title fight

Written by  Dec 14, 2017

Lewis Hamilton is hoping his former team McLaren and Fernando Alonso can join the battle with Mercedes Ferrari and Red Bull at the front of the grid in 2018.

The British team is expected to make a significant jump forward next season after ending their troubled partnership with Honda after three seasons, switching to the same Renault engines used by Red Bull.

Whether a change in supplier alone will make the difference we'll have to wait until Australia to find out, but for the world champion, he admits a soft spot still remains for McLaren, the team which helped develop his racing career and would welcome a renewed fight with his first F1 teammate.

“I had a great battle with Fernando towards the end of the season in Mexico," Hamilton recalled, with the pair duelling out in the closing laps. "I would love to have more battles with him on a much more level playground, as I think they've had such a difficult time.

"Being that I grew up with McLaren from 13 [years old], I go through qualifying and I always look to see where Fernando is and I always look to see where they are, watching their progress. There's just a natural place in my heart for them because I achieved a huge amount with them.

"I really hope that next year is a successful year for them and I really hope that we are battling with them as McLaren deserves to be at the front. I hope that with this new power unit they're there with us and you have another incredible world champion up there with us fighting for the championship."

McLaren has previously claimed their chassis is at a similar level to that of Red Bull having looked at tracking data and, with a more competitive engine in the back, Executive Director Zak Brown does think battling for podiums at least is a realistic prospect. 

"That's certainly our goal, we're very confident in the Renault engine," he said. "They've got a great history in the sport and won half the championships in the last 10-15 years and, of course, it's a complete package: the drivers, the team, the chassis, the power unit and we're up for it, we're excited, we're well prepared.

"We think we have the tools that we need so podiums are what we are going to be going for, whether that's the third, second or first step – hopefully, it's a combination of all the above."

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