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Motor Racing

Hamilton relishing Suzuka debut

Lewis Hamilton is hoping to maintain the momentum from his victory in Singapore when he makes his Suzuka debut at the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend.

The 24-year-old has endured a frustrating season in which he has failed to mount a successful defence of the world championship title.

Sunday's victory under the lights at the Marina Bay street circuit was Hamilton's second of the season and provided him and his McLaren team with some hope that they can be competitive heading into the final three races.

While Hamilton has raced twice before in Japan since his debut season in 2007, this will be his first time at Suzuka, with the track making a return to the calendar after a two-year absence.

And the Briton admitted the circuit is one he has been desperate to race at ever since breaking into Formula One.

"I have never been to Suzuka but I have heard that it is, apart from Monaco, the best circuit," he said.

"Just growing up watching television with Ayrton (Senna) and Alain (Prost) and Fernando (Alonso) and Kimi (Raikkonen) racing there, I always wanted to go there.

"I am very excited to go. I am sure it will be a very tough weekend and undoubtedly it will be very tough to learn that circuit and master it in one weekend but I will do all I can.

"Going with the momentum we have from this race, hopefully we will have a competitive car there."

Despite Hamilton's optimism, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes it will be hard for the team to repeat the success they enjoyed in Singapore.

"Along with Spa-Francorchamps, Suzuka is one of Formula One's greatest circuits, and one that every driver relishes," he said.

"We go to Japan knowing that overall victory will not be easy to achieve, but the improvements we evaluated in Singapore, particularly some useful changes to the floor, should give us a competitive boost and it will be interesting to see how our pace translates against that of our rivals."