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Hamilton `can`t take pressure` of F1 title fight.

Lewis Hamilton 'just can't take the pressure' and both he and his McLaren-Mercedes team are 'showing some nerves' as the tense 2008 Formula 1 campaign reaches its most pivotal phase.

That is the opinion of former Sauber team owner Peter Sauber, as the British world championship leader prepares to discover today whether he will carry a one-point or seven-point lead into the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix this coming weekend – dependent upon the outcome of the appeal into the penalty that demoted him from first to third place in the Belgian Grand Prix earlier this month.

The 23-year-old has repeatedly protested his innocence over the incident [see separate story – click here], one that saw him cut across the grass at the Bus-Stop chicane at Spa-Francorchamps as he duelled energetically and entertainingly with the Ferrari of defending F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen in the race's closing stages.

Though he subsequently handed the lead back to his Finnish adversary once more, Hamilton was deemed by FIA stewards to have gained an unfair advantage from the manoeuvre and penalised by 25 seconds, gifting victory to chief title rival and Raikkonen's Maranello team-mate Felipe Massa.

“Both McLaren and Hamilton are showing some nerves,” Sauber told the Credit Suisse emagazine. “Hamilton was declared as this year's star and world champion even before the season got going. This is in keeping with McLaren's style, but of course it's not true.

“That's a huge burden for a young man to bear and now, in one way or another, it has taken its toll. He just can't take the pressure.”

The 64-year-old also admitted that – like Hamilton's former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso [see separate story – click here] – he would rather see Massa lift the laurels at season's end. Should he keep his Belgian 'win', the Brazilian will arrive in Singapore with five successes to his name thus far in 2008 to Hamilton's four. No other driver has prevailed more than twice.

“If I follow my heart, I would say Massa because Ferrari obviously means a lot more to me,” confessed Sauber, whose privateer team was powered by the Scuderia for nine seasons from 1997 to 2005, and who actually dropped the São Paulo native at the end of the 2002 campaign before re-hiring him just over a year later.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-23, Belgian F1 Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, 5-7th, September, 2008
Sahara Force India F1 Team - W66 girls.
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 and team mate Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team with W66 girls.
Sahara Force India F1 Team - W66 girls.
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, McLaren MCL32, detail
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Sauber C36, steering wheel
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team VF-17
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.03.2017 - Free Practice 3, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H

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Stu - Unregistered

September 23, 2008 1:14 PM

Of course Peter Sauber speaks from his extensive knowledge of winning F1 championships. Massa would be a disgrace as F1 world champion after his exploits at Silverstone.Also he could hardly hold a straight face when replying to a question about the FIA helping Ferrari. I know LH is a ***** git but he can at least drive

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