Renault boss tips Hamilton to throw lead away

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The Independent Online

Renault team boss Flavio Briatore expects Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton to reprise last year's final-stretch stumble, saying the young McLaren driver "hasn't learned anything" from his mistakes.

The 23-year-old Hamilton, who was fastest in Friday's two test sessions at the Chinese Grand Prix, holds a five point lead over Ferrari's Felipe Massa with two races to go in the Formula One season.

Hamilton led Kimi Raikkonen by 17 points at this stage last season, but a spin into a gravel trap at Shanghai and another driving error in Brazil cost him the drivers' title.

"In my opinion Hamilton will try again to throw away the title," Briatore said in comments to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport that caused a stir at Shanghai on Friday. "Hamilton hasn't learned anything."

Briatore tipped Massa to win the title.

Hamilton was criticised by drivers past and present for being overly aggressive at last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, where he received a penalty that deprived him of any championship points.

Despite his shrinking lead and calls to temper his ways, Hamilton has said he has no plans to ease off.

Briatore, whose team is not in contention for the championship, cited the Japanese race as evidence of Hamilton's immaturity, saying he needs to "be told he is an F1 driver, not a Martian."

"He's a good driver, but the good drivers are also the ones that bring the results home," Briatore said.