Formula One world champion Emerson Fittipaldi who has won the championship twice has tipped Lewis Hamilton to beat out Fernando Alonso to this year’s drivers’ crown.
Hamilton currently leads the drivers’ standings by five points from his Spanish team-mate in a season during which reigning champion Alonso has failed to come to terms with the unexpected speed and racecraft of the young Briton.
Fittipaldi who is the now head of Team Brazil in the A1GP series, believes that it will be Alonso’s weaknesses as much as Hamilton’s strengths that will ultimately decide the title in the Lewis Hamiltons favour.
Speaking at a two-day A1GP test session at Silverstone on Wednesday, Fittipaldi said: “Lewis is very good, very determined, and in my opinion has the best chance of winning the championship of anybody.
“Lewis is very focused and very established even though he is new.
“Fernando is very nervous and is not concerned with going fast. He has to focus on his driving and go for it, not be complaining so much about Lewis Hamilton.
“He’s very talented and he should be focused more on driving, and then he can get back to being more competitive again.”
Brazilian Fittipaldi, who won the second of his drivers’ titles with McLaren in 1974, added that he expects compatriot Felipe Massa to push the current McLaren drivers all the way to the wire in the race for the 2007 crown.
Massa is currently third in the championships standings, 15 points behind Hamilton and one ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen after leading home a dominant Ferrari one-two at last weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.
“I’d love to see Felipe Massa win,” Fittipaldi added. “Ferrari now at the next few grands prix will be strong again. He has the opportunity of his life.
“He has to deliver now. He won last weekend, but he has to win more races to win the championship.”
Massa now has five grand prix victories to his name following his breakthrough win with Ferrari in Turkey in 2006, and Fittipaldi admits that his emergence as a serious championship contender can be traced back to that first triumph in the series.
“He has a lot of experience now in Formula One, with Sauber and now in his second year at Ferrari.
“He went through the breakthrough of winning. When you start winning, you have so much confidence at the next grand prix and that’s where he is now.”
By Jamie Strickland, PA Sport