Lewis Hamilton is hoping an incident-free race will catapult him to victory in the world championship as he looks ahead to next week’s decisive season finale in Brazil and daringly recalls his title meltdown in Sau Paulo last year.
How are you approaching this final, crucial weekend of the year?
“Fundamentally the same way I ve approached the previous races. Obviously, my aim for Brazil is slightly different from the other grands prix: I don t need to win the race, but that won t stop me from going into the weekend looking to be as strong as possible. Shanghai was a good example of that: we hit the ground running on Friday morning and never looked back. Our aim wasn t to push too hard, but we found ourselves in a position at the front and took it comfortably from there. That s what I am hoping to achieve in Brazil – a straightforward weekend that allows me to just focus on my car and my driving.”
What do you think of the Interlagos circuit?
“I love the circuit: it s in this incredible natural arena that is just amazing to race on. And it s anti-clockwise too – so it presents an additional challenge to the drivers. The track always seems to provide good, close racing: one of the reasons for that is because there s a long straight leading up to the first corner and you can slipstream other cars and overtake into Turn One. It s also a place where there seems to be a lot of grip so you can dice with other cars and have fun.”
What do you remember of last year s nail-biting finale in Brazil?
“I went to Interlagos with the title battle still up in the air and all my emotions just bubbling up and down. It was a very emotional time because I knew it would end with either great success or huge disappointment. In 2007, things didn t end up too well for me – but I still had a great first year. Everybody s always happy to finish the season in Brazil – there s a real party atmosphere in Sao Paulo on the Sunday night and it s a perfect place to end such a great season.”
Sao Paulo and Interlagos have long been intertwined with the legacy of Ayrton Senna – how does that make you feel?
“Ayrton has always been my favourite driver. I think he s the best driver there ever was and, still, to this day, I don t believe anyone would beat him. If I could achieve just a small part of what he achieved, it would be a dream for me.”