1 Oct 2008

McLaren say they have learnt lesson of 2007

7:11 am on 1 October 2008

Formula One leaders McLaren pushed too hard with Lewis Hamilton last year and have learned from that title failure, according to team chief Martin Whitmarsh.

The chief operating officer says their inherent weakness last year was the overwhelming desire to win the race at almost any risk, which is more forgivable in the young Hamilton than in the experienced McLaren team.

McLaren are leading both championships with three races remaining, the 23-year-old Hamilton seven points clear of Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa while his team are one ahead of their Italian rivals.

Hamilton also led the championship at the same stage of his rookie season last year but ended up losing by a single point to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

McLaren, winners of 161 races and eight constructors' championships since 1966, have not won a title since Finland's Mika Hakkinen took his second drivers' crown for the Mercedes-powered team in 1999.