Ecclestone hails Hamilton - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ecclestone hails Hamilton

By Alan Baldwin 07/07/2007 06:16:45 AM Comments (0)

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone hailed Lewis Hamilton as a British sporting hero while warning that his home grand prix could be struck off the calendar in 2010.

"If he continues the way he has for his first eight races, he's going to be a super superstar," he told reporters of a driver who has set records already after just eight races. "Let's hope that happens.

"If he's handled properly, and he handles himself properly, there's no limits to what he can really do," the Briton said of the McLaren rookie, leading the championship by 14 points after finishing every race on the podium.

"He looks like he's been around for 20 years already, he's super-confident and says the right things.

"He's good for England, good for Formula One."

Ecclestone, 76, was speaking after the British Grand Prix presentation of the limited edition Formula One Opus, a half-metre square book celebrating the history of the sport and weighing in at 37kg.

The Briton said he had not expected Hamilton to be so competitive immediately and saw him as the highlight of a wet British sporting summer.

Silverstone's contract runs out in 2009 and the commercial rights holder, with new races in Valencia and Singapore signed up for next year and others in the pipeline including Abu Dhabi in 2009, is demanding improvements to the pits and paddock before any extension.

Ecclestone gave a typically blunt reply when asked what would happen if Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), failed to do what he asked of them.

"We won't be here," he said. "They know, they've known for five or six years, exactly what we want.

The BRDC has said it intends to pay for improvements out of their own resources and hopes to have a masterplan approved by the end of the month.

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