Mar.12 (GMM) Lewis Hamilton has singled out reigning champion Kimi Raikkonen as his man to beat to the 2008 title.
The Briton's McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainen has been earmarked by experts as a dark horse for this season, and Brazilian Felipe Massa will this year drive the same Ferrari as that used by Raikkonen to defend his crown.But speaking to the Daily Telegraph, 23-year-old Hamilton said of his stated Finnish rival: "He is the guy I want to go out and beat to win the title."Kimi got stronger throughout the whole of last year and will start at the level he finished in October. I can only imagine he will get better but that is the same for me," he added.Hamilton, meanwhile, rejected the theory that 'second season syndrome' might thwart his progress in 2008, even though some of his staunchest supporters - like Sir Jackie Stewart - are warning that life in the paddock can be tougher in the year following a meteoric debut."I have always found that in every category my second year has always been, I wouldn't say easier, but twice as strong," he insists."Going into this year I have no doubts that I will be stronger."Hamilton also denied Fernando Alonso's recent claim that, after a tumultuous season as teammates in 2007, their relationship is "non-existent".Hamilton, rather, insists that "I still speak with Fernando".