Lewis Hamilton insists he will not be leaving championship rival Felipe Massa an open door to victory in Brazil.
Hamilton arrives in Sau Paulo with a seven point lead over Massa and only needs to finish fifth or higher to be crowned the youngest ever world champion.
But as he gears up for the most important race in his career, Hamilton says he will tackle the weekend in the same way he has approached previous races, and will strive for the best result possible, despite not needing to win the race.
“Obviously, my aim for Brazil is slightly different from the other grands prix,” he said. “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.”
Yielding to his rivals is not something that comes naturally to Hamilton, though. In his rookie year, the Briton memorably saw his title dreams go up in smoke after unnecessary scraps with Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso in Shanghai and Brazil respectively.
“I went to Interlagos with the title battle still up in the air and all my emotions just bubbling up and down,” recalls Hamilton.
“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.”
In Japan a fortnight ago Hamilton’s championship lead took a hit when he was dealt a drive through penalty for attempting to repass Kimi Raikkonen at the first corner after a bad start.
Besides it being against Hamilton’s racing instinct to go down without a fight, the Briton also has an important role to play in the constructors battle.
McLaren are eleven points adrift of rivals Ferrari and maintain only a ten point advantage over BMW Sauber.
And with Heikki Kovalainen struggling to demonstrate the same pace as Hamilton behind the wheel of his MP4-23, primary responsibility for bringing glory back to Woking after a ten year drought rests on Hamilton’s shoulders.
“Lewis will be as focused as the team to score the necessary points in Brazil,” said Mercedes-Benz Vice President Norbert Haug.