Britain hails champion-elect Hamilton

Mon, 1 October 2007, 12:50

The British press hailed countryman Lewis Hamilton after the rookie moved within grabbing distance of the world championship in Japan.

Captioning a photo of the 22-year-old’s bitter McLaren rival Fernando Alonso, as he waved to the crowd while catching a ride back to the pits on a scooter, The Sun cheekily said: “That’s as in ‘wave goodbye to your title, pal!'”

“I was fortunate that Alonso went off, but I’m not ready to party yet,” Hamilton, now a clear 12 points ahead of Alonso, was quoted as saying.

Fellow British tabloid The Daily Star, however, is already tallying Hamilton’s likely monetary windfall for probably becoming the youngest ever world champion, and first rookie to wear the drivers’ crown.

“That victory would trigger a megabucks payout in winnings, telly deals and sponsorship –- with much more to follow,” the newspaper said.

The Daily Telegraph quoted Lewis’ father-manager, Anthony Hamilton, as saying the Fuji result was “great not just for us, but for everybody: the UK, the world.”

“40 million Spaniards and a few million Finns might disagree,” the newspaper observed, “(but) we can forgive Anthony his champagne moment.”

The Independent quotes Hamilton, pondering the feats of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in the closing laps of the grand prix, as wondering if he is also on the path to formula one immortality.

“Lewis, rest assured, you are,” the editorial wrote.

The Spanish newspaper Diario As pedalled a predictably different line; commiserating compatriot Alonso’s aquaplaning misfortune and surmising that the reigning world champion “needed the luck today that his main rival had”.

‘As’ scolded Hamilton for spending too much time at Fuji accusing Alonso of disloyalty and asking Ron Dennis for a new teammate for 2008.

“Hopefully (Ron) Dennis grants his wish because the sooner Alonso can escape from the mud in which he sinks, the better,” the writer added.

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