SportF1Fittipaldi advises Verstappen and Hamilton for Abu Dhabi

Fittipaldi advises Verstappen and Hamilton for Abu Dhabi

Emerson Fittipaldi won two world championships, in 1972 and 1974 respectively. The Brazilian has also climbed to the top of the podium 14 times, and is one of the most iconic drivers in Formula 1.

The one from Sao Paulo experienced a similar situation in his second title with the stars of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in the 2021 season. At that time, the former McLaren driver arrived tied on points with Clay Regazzoni at the last race at Watkins Glen, in the United States.

During the 1974 campaign, in the first 8 Grands Prix, the 7 best results counted, while for the second half of the year, only the 6 best places achieved were valid. The Brazilian and the Italian added 52 points before the final appointment, and it was the first and only time that two pilots arrived equal to the last event.

Fittipaldi, who sees how Verstappen and Hamilton revive that story, spoke exclusively to Motorsport.com about this season: “I don’t think anyone can predict what will happen between them in Abu Dhabi. It’s a similar situation to what happened to me with Clay Regazzoni in 1974, where we were level on points.

“I can see the pressure that everyone has, Lewis, Max, the teams, families, sponsors, even the spectators and fans. It’s tremendous pressure to come to the last race with the same points, you think it’s going to be like a duel, a race in which they are against each other,” said the two-time champion.

 

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will mark a before and after for the history of F1, but not even Fittipaldi himself dares to predict what will happen: “Everyone will be there watching what is going to happen for 1 hour and 40 minutes, and only one will be world champion. Who will it be? I can imagine how eager they will be.”

Despite this, the legend from São Paulo was encouraged to give them some advice : “I can only tell you to make a strategy with your team and, the first thing, to win the championship is that you have to finish the race. Then, yes, you can win the world championship , but they have to see the checkered flag, if they don’t, they can’t win.”

“I think they are equal, because, as I said, you can’t count on the other not finishing. First, they have to finish the race, it doesn’t matter if Max has won more than Lewis. Now, it’s about whoever comes first, it will be champion, it will be incredible, a fantastic work of motorsport”, he commented.

Asked what the highlight of the year had been for Fittipaldi, he said: “A lot of exciting things have happened between them. Max has led longer than Lewis, but in the last four races Mercedes look very strong, they’ve given him lap. I think, since August, everything has been very tense, in every race.”

 

The 2021 season will go down as one of the best of all time, but once the teams see the checkered flag in Abu Dhabi, everyone will be focused on the season ahead .

“The new rules are going to cause a lot of surprises, whoever adapts better will be the one with an advantage. I don’t think anyone is sure who will be the leader in the first classification, in the tests you never know the fuel load of cars and track conditions affect it,” said the Brazilian.

The 79-year-old former driver continued talking about 2022 : “You will be able to see who will be the fastest after the first qualifying of the year, but there are a lot of people working on next season’s cars in some teams, which can give an advantage” .

“I imagine that Mercedes and Red Bull are focused on fighting for the championships this year, and teams like Ferrari have dedicated more time to next season, there may be surprises.”

To close the chapter on next year’s campaign, the Kelbelt ambassador said: “The biggest team always has more advantage, but the other teams can be very close. I like the change in regulations and what they are going to do I hope that the cars will get closer to each other and we will have exciting races.”

The Fittipaldi lineage is more present than ever in Formula 1, and his two grandsons, Pietro and Enzo , are closely linked to the highest category. The eldest of the brothers already knows what it is to participate in an F1 race, when at the end of 2020 he replaced Romain Grosjean in Shakir and Abu Dhabi.

Enzo, for his part, competes in F2, the prelude to the Grand Circus, however, he suffered a very serious accident at the Saudi Arabian event, where, fortunately, he was able to get out alive.

“I think it’s thanks to the FIA. The cars are safer, the monocoque is very strong, they have improved safety, and the only thing that has been injured is his right leg, because it was a very strong impact,” said his grandfather. .

“It’s ok, it also has some small bumps above the eyes, but the cars now are incredibly safe. The rules protect the drivers, and they are like in a safety capsule,” he continued.

Fittipaldi, seeing Enzo’s accident, said that another one with fatal consequences came to mind: “I remember Paletti’s accident in Montreal, in 1982. It was horrible and that shows you how much has been improved in motorsport. Enzo He’s fine, he’s recovering very quickly.”

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