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Warmer reception for Hamilton in Jerez

india Updated: Feb 13, 2008 19:53 IST
AFP
The world championship runner-up will continue preparations for next season on Wednesday with his new teammate Heikki Kovalainen of Finland.

British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, the recent victim of racist abuse during testing in Barcelona, has received a warmer reception during a three-day session in southern Spain.

"The McLaren stable didn't ask us to take any particular security measures for the three days of testing but in any case we never had problems of this type here," officials from the Jerez circuit said Wednesday.

Hamilton was supported by many fans who travelled from the tiny British overseas territory of Gibraltar, just 100km away, as he took top honours on the first day of testing on Tuesday with a time of 1:19.102 minutes, beating his previous best time on the same track of 1:19.131 on January 10.

The world championship runner-up will continue preparations for next season on Wednesday with his new teammate Heikki Kovalainen of Finland.

The Spanish fans' behaviour was seen as a reaction to perceived favouritism by McLaren for Hamilton last season at the expense of Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who has since rejoined Renault.

On each occasion the McLaren-Mercedes driver left the pits in Montmelo, insults were thrown at him by a group of spectators who also had banners criticising him.

Up to 5,000 spectators are expected to attend Wednesday's session, the only day that Alonso will test.

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