Rookie Hamilton, Kovalainen Can Surprise in Sepang

04.04.2007: Rookie Hamilton, Kovalainen Can Surprise in Sepang

Having competed with Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen in the GP2 Series, Fairuz Mohamed Fauzy believes the two rookies could surprise the more established Formula One drivers at the upcoming Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend.

"These are two very good and very competitive drivers and they are very capable of winning any race," said the 24-year old Malaysian, who is currently the test driver for Spyker-Ferrari F1 Team.

Taking a diplomatic stand not to compare the two McLaren and Renault drivers strength to strength, Fairuz was, however, a clear fan of Hamilton, who was a dominating force in the GP2 Series last year. Kovalainen, on the other hand, was second to Nico Rosberg in the maiden series in 2005.

Both, however, had a contrasting debut in Formula One in Australia two weeks ago with the McLaren Mercedes driver going up to the podium in third spot while Kovalainen failing to shine at the season-opener.

Preparing for the race in Sepang this weekend, Hamilton and Kovalainen were equally impressive during the recent F1 test with Hamilton chalking the fastest time for Thursday with a time of 1 minute 35.918 seconds around the 5.543-km track and Kovalainen taking the honours for the final day on March 30 with a time of 1 minute 35.757 seconds.

"Hamilton has been professionally groomed since he was eight years old by McLaren under a comprehensive development programme. And, that makes him a very good driver," said Fairuz when met in Angkasapuri where he was a guest in the Hello On Two morning show with his father, Haji Mohamed Fauzy Abdul Hamid.

Like Fairuz, his father also spoke highly of Hamilton and the programme that McLaren had developed for the young British driver.

"He was McLaren protégé since he was a kid after he won McLaren’s Search For Champion programme for the cadet go-kart racer," Haji Mohamed Fauzy said, adding that McLaren had fully back his racing programme including when he was competing in in the GP2 Series where Hamilton won comfortably.

Currently competing in Renault World Series, Fairuz said his priority now was to secure a many mileage as possible in the Spyker-Ferrari F1 car and learn as much as he can on in his pursuit to be a Formula One driver.

Initially penned to take the track during free practice on Friday, the Spyker-Ferrari team, however, had relented in their stand and decided for the actual drivers Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil to drive.

"It is a decision taken by the team to give both drivers more mileage because the team did not participate in the Sepang testing. On my part, I would like to apologise to the Malaysian fans," added Fairuz,

www.malaysiangp.com

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04.04.2007 / MaP

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