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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK
The word on Lewis
Footballers Carlton Cole and Anton Ferdinand joined Lewis Hamilton at the recent NBA game at the O2 Arena
Hamilton has quickly made sporting and celebrity friends
Lewis Hamilton stands on the brink of creating Formula One history.

The 22-year-old Englishman will become the first rookie to win the drivers' championship if he can hold off McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix.

With the season set for a tremendous climax, opinions have been flying around thick and fast over who will triumph.

Renault chief Flavio Briatore, Alonso's former boss, tipped the Spaniard to claim the glory but former world champions Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill have backed their fellow countryman in newspaper interviews.


Nigel Mansell
He will be a world champion - not if, but when. Win or lose this weekend, he has done a brilliant job

Nigel Mansell
I think Hamilton will breeze it. His mental strength is huge. He feels it is his by right, he has acquitted himself brilliantly.

Lewis has been used to pressure his whole life. He has been the chosen one, he has been given everything from an early age.

The uncanny thing, or fluke if you want to call it, is that he arrived in F1 with the best team, best car, best engine - and that is eerie.

We are looking at the first ever grand prix driver to be trained from grassroots. He has had the backing of McLaren and Mercedes for a long time.

Lewis Hamilton's relationship with team-mate Fernando Alonso has rapidly deteriorated
Hamilton and Alonso have fallen out spectacularly this year
Because of that he is very professional and he has been used to winning for a long while.

He's never been in a bad team or had a bad time, so from a mental point of view I don't think he will have a problem at all.

What he has shown this year is that it is only a question of whether he wins next year or the year after.

He will be a world champion - not if, but when. Win or lose this weekend, he has done a brilliant job.


Damon Hill
I sometimes wonder if the sport deserves him

Damon Hill
Lewis is already established in the bracket of a future great.

No driver has done what he is doing so in years to come, whatever Lewis does on Sunday, people will say that will be something to aim for.

Next year, with a season's experience, he will be stronger and even more of a threat.

Lewis has already shown what he is made of. Just 20 minutes after the race in China, he had his chin up and dealt with the situation. There was no sulking.

In recent years, the sport has been unappealing in terms of the way it has been played out. Among the drivers, there has not really been a code of values - but Lewis has that respect for others.

Lewis Hamilton
Despite his Shanghai slip-up Hamilton is in a strong position

There are similarities with Ayrton Senna. Senna was an intense character but also an outgoing and popular driver. Michael Schumacher was less outgoing, more aloof.

Also, youngsters can relate to him, which maybe they cannot with other drivers. Maybe the penny is dropping with some of them.

It is shameful that in his first season, Lewis has felt disillusioned with the business and political elements of Formula One. I can understand that.

I sometimes wonder if the sport deserves him. He's come in fresh-faced and willing and it seems as if people are determined to make life difficult for him.

It is going to be incredibly close in Brazil but Lewis has been driving brilliantly.

At the start of the season, I predicted Lewis would win a race. Never did I imagine that with one race to go, he would be four points clear.

No more slip-ups, vows Hamilton
17 Oct 07 |  Formula One
Briatore tips Alonso for F1 glory
17 Oct 07 |  Formula One
The men who would be F1 king
17 Oct 07 |  Formula One
F1 rivals ready for Brazil battle
17 Oct 07 |  Formula One
The ways the F1 title can be won
17 Oct 07 |  Formula One
Stewart accuses FIA over McLaren
15 Oct 07 |  Formula One
I can handle pressure - Hamilton
09 Oct 07 |  Formula One
Alonso 'sure' of McLaren equality
08 Oct 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton still favourite - Alonso
07 Oct 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton error keeps title alive
07 Oct 07 |  Formula One
Alonso widens rift with McLaren
06 Oct 07 |  Formula One


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