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Hamilton wants to do better than team-mate Button

FRIENDLY RIVALRY: Hamilton and Button (right)

LEWIS HAMILTON is confident that he will finish ahead of his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button in this year’s World Championship.

Button finished second in the Drivers’ Championship on 270 points in 2011, three places and 43 points ahead of Hamilton.

Both drivers won three races but Button was more consistent throughout the season. That was the first time that Hamilton, the 2008 World Champion, had been beaten by one of his team-mates over the course of the season and Hamilton is adamant that it won’t happen again.

When asked whether he was worried about Button, who won the 2009 Championship with Brawn GP, Hamilton pointed to their qualifying head-to-head record and stated:

“Considering last year, from my own personal feeling, that I wasn’t performing at my best and I was still ... when you look at the qualifying positions - what was it? 13-6? My performances were pretty good.

"And I don’t even feel that in qualifying, even when I got pole, that I was extracting 100 per cent of what I can do. And in races even less than that. But I feel that this year, if I’m at 100 per cent when I get to those races, I don’t have any concerns whatsoever."

HIGH PROFILE SPLIT: Hamilton and Scherzinger

The 27-year-old added that he was in a better place mentally going into the new season after a hectic 2011, which included a high profile split with singer Nicole Scherzinger.

“There were times when I was juggling too many things; too many things I'd started were unfinished and too many questions remained unanswered.

"There was a lot of time when my mind was elsewhere — at times I know my focus was less than 90 per cent where it should have been.

"I feel I have corrected things that I've done wrong. I have a clean slate, with nothing hanging over me, nothing worrying me."

Day one of pre-season testing took place in Jerez, Spain today (February 7) with Lotus Renault’s Kimi Raikkonen topping the timesheet after a two-year absence. Button finished in eighth whilst Hamilton starts his testing on Thursday (February 9).

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