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Hamilton excited by Alonso challenge

Mar 10, 2013, 7:02 AM EDT

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Lewis Hamilton has set his sights on beating Fernando Alonso this season, claiming that the rivalry between them excites him more than the prospect of beating ex-teammate Jenson Button.

“That [rivalry with Button] doesn’t really excite me. The rivalry between me and Fernando excites me more.

“‘He’s the guy I want to beat. You also want to beat Seb [Vettel], as they are the ones with most titles. But Alonso’s the fastest driver I can see. He’s also one of the most experienced. Anyone would struggle to beat him.”

Alonso finished second in last year’s drivers’ championship, just three points behind Sebastian Vettel despite struggling with his Ferrari throughout the season. Hamilton believes that the Italian team have made a big step forward for 2013.

“Trying to finish ahead of Alonso in a Ferrari that is actually really competitive, is a really nice challenge. And I do think the Ferrari is going to be quick this year.”

Hamilton and Alonso were teammates at McLaren during the former’s first season in the sport. The intense rivalry between the two caused Alonso to leave after just one season with the team, and many cite it as the reason for both drivers missing out on the world championship in 2007.

Although he has been criticized for moving to Mercedes, Hamilton believes that his decision could allow him to establish himself as a legend of the sport.

“I expect myself to excel. Ultimately, I want to achieve greatness. I want to prove my abilities year after year. Michael is seen as an all-time great, Seb is, too. I want to be seen as great as well.”

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