17 MARCH 2008

Formula 1 race ace Lewis Hamilton launched his second Grand Prix season in spectacular style on Sunday. The 23-year-old, who finished third when he made his debut at the same race last year, roared to victory in Melbourne to be crowned winner of the first outing of 2008.

As the temperature Down Under soared to 37 degrees only seven cars managed to finish the gruelling race - but Lewis, who was named last year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year, remained unphased. He finished first with a five second lead, declaring: "It's probably the best race I've had so far…".

"I paced myself and didn't overdo it," revealed the modest British McLaren driver, who claimed his first win of the season in front of a celebrity crowd that included Kylie's little sister Dannii Minogue, cricketer Shane Warne and Jack and Kelly Osbourne.

The Hertfordshire-born star will now be hoping for a similar result in next week's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The thrilled sports sensation celebrates his Melbourne victory with a traditional champagne sprayPhoto: © Rex Click on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
"It's probably the best race I've had so far..." revealed Lewis, who made his Formula One debut at the Australian Grand Prix last year Photo: © Getty
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Pop singer Dannii Minogue was among the celebs who turned up to watch the start of the 2008 race seasonPhoto: © Rex