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McLaren unveiling sees united front

LEWIS HAMILTON and Jenson Button have joined forces for the first time publicly as McLaren team-mates to unveil the marque's new car for the forthcoming season.

Button began his official McLaren duties at the start of the year following his switch from Brawn GP, with whom he won the world title last season.

The British duo make Formula One history as it is the first time a team has started a new season featuring the two most recent winners of the world title, with Hamilton champion in 2008.

It is also the first pairing of two British champions since Graham Hill and Jim Clark were at Lotus in 1968, and the first pairing of two world champions in F1 since Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were at McLaren in 1989.

Much has so far been made as to how the duo will fare together, in particular with Button now at a team where Hamilton has, in effect, resided for the past 12 years.

But in pulling the wraps off the MP4-25, and with the duo in the full glare of the media spotlight at primary sponsor Vodafone's UK headquarters in Newbury, they were naturally all smiles.

A beaming Button, asked for his first impressions of the car, said: "I must say it looks pretty impressive.

"I can't wait to take a step back and have a better look, but this team always puts a car together properly, meticulously.

"We've seen all the numbers, been in the simulator, and it looks positive, but the real work begins on Monday in Valencia with the first test."

Giving his thoughts, Hamilton remarked: "This is my fourth year at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and to see the car evolve, it is such a pleasure to see the final outcome.


"It looks completely different, and I feel very proud because I've had some input into this car."

Reflecting on his early-season woes of last year, he added: "I just hope it handles differently to last year."

To which Button jokingly interjected: "I hope so too!"

Assessing his partnership with Button, a sincere Hamilton added: "To be in the same team, it's a really great partnership, a great team.

"I really look forward to working with you this year and pushing this team forward. It should be special."

With the car possessing the number one on it in recognition of Button being world champion, the 30-year-old said: "It is very special. But we now need to stop looking back at last year and concentrate on the future."

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh, addressing the audience prior to the unveiling, said: "It was Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, who said preparation is the key to success.

"In keeping with that, we have prepared for this season more than ever before.

"This car is the basis of thousands of man-hours. But a car is nothing without good drivers, and we are thrilled this year to have the last two world champions in Jenson and Lewis representing us on the track.

"As two honest and strong team players, we expect an exciting season within our team. We are all excited about the 2010 season; our goal is clear and we aim to win."