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Last Updated Dec 21, 2021, 18:50 PM

F1 legend Emerson Fittipaldi talks about the title race following the Brazilian GP

FROM A MINDSET PERSPECTIVE, WHO GOES INTO QATAR WITH LESS PRESSURE? VERSTAPPEN, WHO STILL HAS A DECENT POINTS BUFFER, OR HAMILTON, COMING OFF OF A SENSATIONAL WIN?

"I watched the interviews of both after the race. Both have a very strong mindset. I can see that Max gave his best yesterday as a driver but was a little slower than the Mercedes - the circumstances of Interlagos - but his mindset for the Championship is there."

"For Lewis, it's the same. He showed, coming from 20th (to win), his mindset."

"Both are good examples for the new generation because Max never did a mistake during the weekend, always driving hard like he always drives. With the limitations of the equipment and the circumstances, he did a very good job."

"Both are very strong mentally."

"I'm very excited to see the next 3 races. Qatar is a new GP, a new track for everybody. I raced on the track 9-10 years ago. It is a MotoGP track, long corners. It's a fast track - fast corners, fast corners. It's a great track for F1, it'll be a very good track to watch."

WITH 3 RACES TO GO, THE TITLE IS MAX VERSTAPPEN’S TO LOSE. THAT BEING SAID, WILL LEWIS HAMILTON’S INCREDIBLE WIN AT INTERLAGOS PUT PRESSURE ON VERSTAPPEN AND RED BULL?

"For sure there will be tremendous pressure on both teams. Lewis (Hamilton) wants the record (of Schumacher) for most championships and Max (Verstappen) is looking for his first championship. The whole team (both Mercedes and Red Bull) is under tremendous pressure."

"Who's going to win? It's difficult. The only thing I know is that Max has been more consistent this whole championship. That's a good sign."

DO YOU THINK ANY DRIVERS OR TEAMS HAVE PERFORMED BELOW EXPECTATIONS?

“Not really, no. I can't think of anybody. Only positive and good surprises this year.”

“Haas is trying really hard. It's really difficult with the budget they have. They are doing a good job.”

“I hope that with the new rules coming in for next season, with the limitations for budget and investment for each team, will put a team like Haas and Williams in a much better position for next year. It should make it much more competitive. Should be very interesting to see for all.”

WHICH OF THE RACES SO FAR HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE?

“Personally, I was in Monza when Mclaren finished 1st and 2nd. That was to me an incredible experience. To be at that race with the Mclaren team, and they won 1st and 2nd.”

“And if you look at the last three Grands Prix, Austin, Mexico, and Brazil, it has been amazing. Amazing from the spectators, amazing enthusiasm, amazing show in the races. For the pure excitement during the races, I think the Brazil Grand Prix at Interlagos has been the greatest this year because of the fight between Lewis and Max. It was the best.”

THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF GRID PENALTIES THIS SEASON FOLLOWING ENGINE REPLACEMENTS. IS THAT A STRATEGY WE'LL SEE MORE OF IN THE FUTURE?

“The rules are the rules. The rules are made and accepted by all the teams and they have to follow them.”

“Looking towards next season and the new rules for next year, I think the team that quickly finds the best solution, inside the "end of the rules", will be the most successful team next year. That's the challenge facing all the engineers and team managers, the people behind the scenes, who are working very hard for the new car.”

“We could have some surprises next year.”

THIS SEASON HAS BEEN FRAUGHT WITH CONTROVERSY, ESPECIALLY WITH MERCEDES, RED BULL, AND F1 ORGANISERS. TOTO WOLFF RECENTLY REMARKED, “DIPLOMACY HAS ENDED” AFTER DECISIONS AGAINST MERCEDES. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS, CONSIDERING AUDIENCE INTEREST AND CONSTRUCTORS’ RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ORGANISERS?

“The champion is so close this year and the pressure is on. There's tremendous pressure both on the Mercedes and Redbull team. This means that now, whatever small thing that happens can quickly turn into a big thing, and I think that is why the sport is great. All this is a part of the excitement, you know?” “The demand for the big performance to win the World Championship is exactly what's happening right now.”

“Both Mercedes and Redbull, and their drivers, are under a lot of pressure to come up with big performances for the next three Grands Prix.”

“They will be extremely on edge for the big performance all the remainder of the season.”

WHICH OF THE REMAINING THREE RACES ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MOST?

“All of them will be great.”

“I'm very excited for Jeddah because nobody knows the setup for that race. Nobody has run there before.”

“It will be very interesting to see what teams come out of the box with the best setup for the car. Jeddah will be a very interesting Grand Prix.”

“Could be where we get the decision for the championship.”

“I heard it's going to be a beautiful track in Jeddah. I talked to the organiser when they were in Monza for that Grand Prix. They are extremely excited. It will be an extremely fast road circuit, and it will be a new type of setup - a new package for the cars. Should be very interesting in my opinion. Definitely a key Grand Prix.”

LANDO NORRIS HAD AN IMPRESSIVE RUN AT INTERLAGOS AS WELL, DRIVING UP ALL THE WAY FROM DEAD LAST (AFTER GETTING CLIPPED BY CARLOS SAINZ) TO P10 AND EARNING A POINT. YOUR COMMENTS ON HIS PERFORMANCE?

"Lando Norris showed his talent. McLaren is showing that they're getting better. They have very good runs this year from both Lando and (Daniel) Ricciardo.

"The unfortunate puncture he had at the start of the race took away his chance of finishing Top 5. He had a very good chance of finishing ahead of the Ferraris."

"He (Lando Norris) is working very well with the team. Both him and Ricciardo are doing a very good job of teamwork. I was there for 2 Grands Prix and I could see that the team love the 2 drivers. They have a very good team spirit."

"McLaren is on a very good synergy - of the team and both drivers. I can see the whole team cumulate to improve and they are improving. It is going to be the next big team that will be strong again. Zak Brown is doing a very good job."

ANY THOUGHTS ON THE INCIDENT WITH NORRIS AND SAINZ? SAINZ DID SAY HE WAS NOT AT FAULT.

"From what I can see on TV, Lando was between Carlos (Sainz) and the edge of the track. The movement that happened there can happen at the start. It is possible that Carlos could not see that Lando was next to him and he squeezed him a little bit. His front wing hit the rear wheel of Lando. It's one of the things that can happen in racing."

"The commissioners watched the incident many times and they didn't do anything because it is a race incident."

LANDO NORRIS AND GEORGE RUSSELL HAVE SHOWN A LOT OF PROMISE THIS SEASON. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FROM THEM FOR THE REMAINING RACES AND ALSO FOR NEXT SEASON?

"I am very excited to see George Russell as the new teammate for Lewis. He already showed last year at Bahrain how quick he is. He is a very talented young English driver who has surprised everybody in my opinion. He has performed incredibly with Williams."

"A big surprise performance, in my opinion, was when (George Russell) qualified in Russia. Williams was in a wet situation, the track was extremely difficult and he was third. Big surprise."

"At the Belgian GP, he did very well in qualifying. The circumstances at the track showed that he is an extremely talented young driver."

"It'll be good to see 2 young English drivers race against each other with different teams. It'll be a challenge for Lewis. With all the respect I have for Lewis, he (George Russell) is going to challenge him as a teammate."

"For spectators, it will be great to see George Russell in a more competitive car."

"Lando with the new McLaren, hope that the new car will be even more competitive. Lando has shown his talent in many different circumstances. All this makes excitement for next season for sure, for sure."

ANY SPECIFIC AREAS WHERE YOU THINK BOTH NORRIS AND RUSSELL CAN IMPROVE?

"They have to gain more kilometers, more laps, more Grands Prix. They have great potential for their future. The new generation is coming very strong. They are examples of the new generation, in my opinion, coming to F1. Full of talent."

WITH THE SEASON COMING TO AN END, WHO IN YOUR OPINION, HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER? ALSO, WHICH CONSTRUCTOR HAS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST?

"That is a difficult question. Who is the most improved driver of the season? In view it is Lando, surprising everybody with the McLaren. He has really made a big improvement this year."

"McLaren is the most improved team and has the most improved driver."

"Their facilities in England are very very impressive. They have the history, the experience, and the right people. With all this effort, the results will come for sure."

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