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Hill lauds Hamilton

Sepang: Damon Hill, who was relegated to fifth in terms of victories by a British driver after Lewis Hamilton eased to his 23rd Grand Prix victory in Malaysia on Sunday, believes the 29-year-old has equipped himself with all the tools he needs to prosper, even in this new era of Formula One.

“He’s had a blighted start to his career and had so much turmoil in his time,” Hill said on Monday. “Now he seems pretty calm, he’s found his feet, he has it together and there is balance.

“He’s got a tough teammate in Nico Rosberg but he knows how to beat him. “They might not put him as tactically astute as someone like [Fernando] Alonso or [Sebastian] Vettel but he is coming of age.”

The 1996 world champion also backed Hamilton to go on and comfortably surpass Nigel Mansell’s British record of 31 career victories.

He added: “I think he could make 50 or about that double what he has now. He’s 29 and if you look at his career he’s had near misses for the title, fallen foul of F1 politics, had terrible reliability, joined the team when they were going through a massive downturn. Things are starting to come together for him.”

Meanwhile, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has defended Sebastian Vettel’s use of the word “s---” to describe the new engine noise, after rumours circulated which were strenuously denied by both parties that the FIA had communicated a warning to the German.