ibnlive » Sports

Nov 25, 2006 at 01:35pm IST

Hamilton is F1's first black driver

London: Lewis Hamilton will race for McLaren next season, becoming the first black driver in Formula One.

The team announced on Friday that it selected the 21-year-old British driver to race alongside two-time defending F1 champion Fernando Alonso in 2007.

Hamilton won this year's GP2 championship, a feeder circuit for F1. In 2005, he dominated the F3 series, winning 15 of 20 races.

CONQUERING NEW FRONTIER: Hamilton will partner Alonso in the 2007 season.

"It's a dream come true," Hamilton said in a statement.

"To be racing in Formula One with McLaren has been the ultimate goal for me since I was very young and this opportunity is a fantastic way to end what has been the best year for me."

Lewis joined McLaren's young driver program in 1998, starting in kart racing and working his way up through the ranks.

He did a test drive of McLaren's F1 car for the first time at the Silverstone circuit on September 13, and will begin testing for the 2007 season next week in Barcelona, Spain.

"I'm aware that this will be a challenge and I know that there will be a lot of attention on me," Lewis said.

"However, the team has told me just to relax, do the best I can and enjoy the opportunity. I will work hard to get good results."

Lewis is of Anglo-Caribbean origin. His father's parents come from the West Indies.