Emerson Fittipaldi thinks Lewis Hamilton’s experience will be decisive in the title fight with Max Verstappen. The Brazilian was in the same situation in 1974 as the drivers of Red Bull Racing and Mercedes in the current championship. Fittipaldi tied in points with Clay Regazzoni for the final race of the year to decide the championship in his favour. “The tension is on you for two hours.”
The two-time world champion is looking at the current season with great interest. Verstappen and Hamilton enter the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with the same number of points. Fittipaldi expects the Briton to win. “Lewis has the experience and therefore he will have the advantage,” the Brazilian told Sky Sports. “He always comes back from difficult moments and Hamilton can hang on to that. Max has hardly any experience. If Verstappen has a bad moment in the race, he can’t make it up so quickly.’
Bad night’s sleep for Verstappen and Hamilton
The two main characters of the title fight seem to remain very calm under the pressure in recent weeks. However, Fittipaldi expects everyone in the garage to sleep badly. “I think Lewis and Max will both have a hard time sleeping. Even the engineers and mechanics won’t get a good night’s sleep either. Especially because the race will have to be well thought out strategically. It will be exciting from Turn 1. It will be death or gladiolus for both riders.”
The Brazilian draws that conclusion based on his own fight with Regazzoni. The former Formula 1 driver knows that the tension can quickly become too much. “Only two people can win and they will race for two hours. I felt so much pressure myself prior to the race in 1974. I couldn’t sleep for the first time in my life. All the pressure is on you during a weekend like this,” said Fittipaldi.