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Experience is Lewis' driving force.

LEWIS Hamilton is adamant his world title bid is stronger this year as he is no longer floating away with the fairies.

Hamilton may have set all kinds of rookie records during his debut season, including a run of nine successive podium finishes, but it ultimately ended in heartache.

The British sensation missed out on the world title by a point to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the final race in Brazil.

Although it will long remain an astonishing campaign, on reflection the 23-year-old McLaren star knows there were times when he was far from grounded as the occasion got the better of him.

Asked as to what he feels makes him a stronger title contender this year, with him currently five points clear of Raikkonen at the top of the standings, Hamilton replied: "The knowledge.

"Last year I was on cloud nine the whole year. I remember last year coming back after the summer break and I was still floating.

"This weekend I have my feet on the ground. I've not done anything crazy over the last two weeks, just relaxed.

"I know what I have to do, and that is to hit this race hard."

Hamilton has already stated ahead of tomorrow's European Grand Prix in Valencia that consistency will be the key to any title triumph "I was looking at my results from last year and for the first nine or 12 races it was quite unreal," added Hamilton.

"Who knows, we might have that another year, but I think this year everyone has pretty much had the same sort of run, especially us guys at the front.

"We are all pushing hard. It's a closer season than last year.

"All the teams are perhaps pushing even more to the edge and that's where you really see mistakes starting to happen."

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DETERMINED: Lewis Hamilton
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 23, 2008
Words:311
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