Lewis Hamilton, the 23-year-old British McLaren driver, only needs to finish in the top five of the Brazilian Grand Prix, the last race of the year, to become the youngest Formula One champion. In the same position last year, he let the title slip.
An ice-cool Lewis Hamilton said Thursday that this weekend's world title showdown at the Brazilian Grand Prix was "just another race."
The 23-year-old Briton, who could become the youngest champion and first black champion in Formula One history, said he felt calm and confident and wanted to enjoy the weekend.
Hamilton said: "I think it's quite a bit different to last year, simply because last year we came here and I'd had one bad race, so it was all a bit hectic and the pressure of being at the last race was upon me and perhaps it got to me.
"But this year I feel it's just another race and we've come from a great race in China and I know here that we will be just as strong, if not a little bit stronger.
"It looks positive and again, my approach is the same as in the last race. We are just here to do the best job we can and we're not looking at it and saying that we have to do anything again.
"We don't really have much pressure on us, we just have to do a good job and regardless of whether we win, it's not so important but as a team we would love to win, so we will do the best job, that's what racing's about."
Hamilton of McLaren leads nearest rival and local hero Brazilian Felipe Massa of Ferrari by seven points leading into Sunday's race, potentially a career-defining afternoon for both men.
That translates as Hamilton needing to finish in the top five to be champion while Massa needs a victory and Hamilton sixth or worse to steal the title from him.
"For me," said Hamilton, "I think it is quite similar to every championship you do. For me it is just another race, that's the way to approach it to myself and that's how I did it in the past. It is exciting.
"Everyone enjoys the last race, for sure. It is great for the spectators, it is great for the fans, for the media, for the team, for everyone. We will give it the best shot we can as a team collectively and hopefully we can come out on top.
"For me I think it quite similar to every championship you do. For me, it is just another race, that's the way to approach it to myself and that's how I did it in the past.
"It is exciting. Everyone enjoys the last race, for sure. It is great for the spectators, it is great for the fans, for the media, for the team, for everyone.
"We will give it the best shot we can as a team collectively and hopefully we can come out on top.
He added that he felt his family support was vital to his performance.
"As you can see, I always have my family with me. I always have a part of my family with me and I know I have all my family's support and that is what is important.
"I know they are proud of me and they have worked just as hard as I have to get me here today. So when I come here it is not about me, it is about us as a team together.
"They pretty much come to all the races, not so much the international races as it is lot of time for my brother off school.
"Without my family I would not be here today, so it is great we are able to share the experience throughout the season."
He said also that he hoped that the team could enjoy a victory and take the constructors championship from Ferrari who currently lead by 11 points.
"We come here with a strong package and with a hope that we can challenge for a win and we will do the best job we can. We have not come here to finish further down the order but we obviously know that it is not do or die.
"It would be great for the team to win. I think the team deserve it as they have worked so hard. When you think about all the people that collectively made the two cars competitive throughout the season with a remarkable reliability.
"It is just down to the solid job and it would be great to give them the championship. We will do the best job we can and see what the result is."
He said he loves the circuit and is thrilled to race at Interlagos.
He said: "I love this track. It has always been one I've liked. I think I learnt it from a computer game years and years ago -- me and my brother used to play it.
"Just watching it over the years it was always a spectacular race to watch whether it was raining or whether it was dry.
"When I came here last year and actually drove the circuit it feels like a real racing circuit. It is quite bumpy in some areas, it has got a nice combination of corners.
"It is not too long, but it is not too short. It has a great long straight, so there are areas to overtake. It really has a lot of character.
"We don't really see too many circuits like this which have so much character, so I like it."
Date created : 2008-10-31