x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Stewart backs Hamilton for glory in Abu Dhabi

Sir Jackie Stewart believes Lewis Hamilton will win the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Sir Jackie Stewart is backing Lewis Hamilton to win the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Briton was impressed with what he saw of the McLaren-Mercedes man during today's practice and said: "I think McLaren are going to be competitive here. "We have only had practice so far but Lewis has looked very quick and I think he'll be pushing for a victory. "It is going to be very competitive though and I think you're going to see (Sebastian) Vettel up there, you're going to see Jenson Button up there and I think Rubens Barrichello will be up there as the weekend goes on." He added that he was impressed with the current grid. "I don't think though there has been so many great drivers on the grid, all capable of winning and performing well, at one time since my time as a driver," he said Stewart, who was champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973, added he was thrilled to see Button become champion, and that Britain had consecutive title winners. "I think he is a worthy champion," he said of Button. "I was the last driver to win back to back titles with a British driver. Graham Hill won it in 1968 and I won it in 1969. There has been no other nationality that have had back to back championships and now Britain has done it twice. "Jenson has now won it from Lewis and I think both drivers will be in contention for a number of years to come." Arguably this has been Formula One's most competitive season with six different winners and each team scoring points. Stewart says he has enjoyed this year's racing, adding: "I think it has been a good season. "There has been a lot of winners. I mean Mark Webber has won a couple of grands prix but he doesn't really get talked about. "He won the Brazilian Grand Prix but it was overshadowed by Jenson Button winning the World Championship, but he had earlier won in Brazil and in Brazil won in a masterful manner and he will be competitive here."

gcaygill@thenational.ae