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Emerson Fittipaldi: Lewis Hamilton would've starred in F1 in 1970s

South African GP 1972

Double Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi reckons Lewis Hamilton would have been a star in his era in the seventies.

The 1972 and '74 F1 title-winner described Hamilton as the "action man" of the current grand prix scene.

"I like Lewis, I think he's one of the top guys in grand prix racing and he deserves the championship for sure," Fittipaldi told Autosport.

"I've followed him since the first time I watched him in F3 in Germany many, many years ago.

"I think he's a fantastic driver. He's extremely talented, and he has a great style of driving that I like. He's very aggressive at overtaking people.

"He's good for motorsport, he puts on a great show. We need this in grand prix racing, we're missing action, and he's the action man!"

Asked where he would rank Hamilton among the all-time greats, Fittipaldi said his talent would transfer to other eras.

"From my perspective for sure the top group is Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart because he's my age, and Ayrton Senna, because of my friendship with him as a Brazilian," Fittipaldi explained.

"It's difficult to say, but I'll answer in a different way to you.

Sweden GP 1974

"If you get the top three or four drivers in grand prix racing, and make a time machine, and for example have Lewis come back to my time, driving my McLaren or my JPS Lotus, he'd be tough for me to beat. And for Jackie Stewart.

"No doubt about it, he'd be one of the top guys.

"If I had the age when I was at the top of my career to drive a modern car now, I would be extremely competitive for sure."

Fittipaldi added he felt Hamilton had the potential to increase F1's fanbase.

"He's a fantastic ambassador for England," he said.

"I think he's capable of reaching a public much bigger than we can reach, and can make the sport much more popular."

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