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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March 2008, 06:27 GMT
Prost backs Hamilton to win title
Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton has still only raced in 17 Grands Prix
Formula One legend Alain Prost says Lewis Hamilton can use the experience of last year's near-miss to win the drivers' championship this season.

The 23-year-old lost to Kimi Raikonnen by just one point in his debut season, but Prost expects the McLaren driver to come back stronger.

"I think Lewis will be the top guy," Prost told BBC One's Inside Sport.

"If he has a good car, I don't think it should be a problem. He has more experience now."

Prost eventually won the title four times in an illustrious career after coming agonisingly close on several occasions.

606: DEBATE

And the Frenchman, who won three of his titles with McLaren, said Hamilton should take heart from his example.

"I lost the championship in '81, '82, '83, '84 by a few points and at one time, I said to myself it must be that I cannot win the championship - and then I won it four times later on," he added.

"If you have everything together, you have plenty of time."

Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost
Prost (right) enjoyed a famous rivalry with Ayrton Senna

Prost said Hamilton would still have a fight on his hands to land his first F1 title, with Ferrari and Renault the most likely challengers.

"The Ferrari will always be there, so we don't know about Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa - it depends on whether Kimi has the same motivation or not," he said.

"Fernando Alonso will be just a little bit behind, but quite close.

"We are going to see how he (Lewis Hamilton) is going to handle this extra pressure."

The F1 season starts on 16 March in Melbourne.

Watch the full interview with Alain Prost on Inside Sport on BBC One, Monday, 2320 GMT.



SEE ALSO
Prost disillusioned by F1
03 Mar 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton edges Barcelona testing
25 Feb 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton 'can surpass Schumacher'
29 Jan 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton signs new McLaren deal
18 Jan 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton upbeat despite setbacks
16 Jan 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton vows to return stronger
07 Jan 08 |  Formula One


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