Briatore Congratulates Worthy Hamilton

Flavio Briatore praised Hamilton for becoming the youngest driver ever to be crowned F1 champion despite his struggling performance in Brazil. The Renault boss, previously tipping Massa for winning this year's championship, admitted that Hamilton showed great skill in clinching the F1 title while also pointing out the good publicity for the sport after the thrilling Brazilian Grand Prix finale.

“In the end, I think so. Okay, Massa was penalized for two or three big mistakes by Ferrari, but in the end it was okay. He is great. Lewis went out there to win the title and he has won it. I believe the finale was amazing - but congratulations to Lewis. think it was amazing. It was fantastic for the sport. It was fantastic for the television and an amazing finish,” said Briatore in an interview for site.

Days before the Chinese Grand Prix this season, the Italian slammed Hamilton's chances of wrapping up the world title, stating that “to lose it with a 17-point advantage with two races to go is worthy of the Guinness World Records. If someone gets in the Guinness like that, he can really repeat himself with just five points of advantage. In my opinion Massa will win the title.”

Briatore was referring to Hamilton's failing to clinch the world title a year before, despite holding a 17-point advantage over Kimi Raikkonen with 2 races to go in the season.

However, after the McLaren driver clinched a comfortable win at Shanghai, Briatore switched his bet on Hamilton, admitting that “normally, if I need to put money on anyone, then for sure I will put it on Hamilton. He has much more chance than anybody. But if I am asked to gamble then I will gamble on Massa because that will pay me more if I win.”

Briatore is still to confirm Renault's driving lineup for 2009, pending Fernando Alonso's decision expected to be announced on Wednesday this week. The French manufacturer is expected confirm both Alonso and Nelsinho Piquet for 2009, before heading to the Barcelona testing session later this month.
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