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Rediff.com  » Sports » Hamilton is no Tiger, says Mansell

Hamilton is no Tiger, says Mansell

March 21, 2008 15:21 IST

Former champion Nigel Mansell has hailed Lewis Hamilton as the Formula One driver to beat while rejecting comparisons between the 23-year-old Briton and golfer Tiger Woods.

"I don't think he is like Tiger Woods at all," the 1992 champion, also a keen golfer, told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper on Friday.

"Tiger Woods is the most incredible individual sportsman, just like Roger Federer. With motorsport, you could put maybe five or six different drivers in the best car and they would win the championship."

Hamilton, who last year became the first black grand prix driver, has more frequently been compared to Woods for his ground-breaking role in opening up his sport to a wider audience.

The McLaren driver missed out on the title last year by a single point but started his second season with a resounding victory in Australia last weekend before the next race in Malaysia on Sunday.

"Lewis is the man to beat," said Mansell, who took his title after winning the 1992 season-opener in South Africa -- a race that, like Melbourne last weekend, also saw neither Ferrari reach the chequered flag.

"I think that if you can win the first race of the year, it sets up the whole season; the momentum that it creates within the team is incredible," said the Briton.

"Why shouldn't he (Hamilton) have the confidence? There is no question that the Australian Grand Prix was a fantastic win. The incredible thing is the speed of the McLaren car. I think it is the class act of the field at the moment."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Martin Petty)

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