Lewis Hamilton would love nothing more than a straightforward race in Brazil on Sunday as he attempts to keep his mind clear of the battle for the Formula One world title. With just two grands prix remaining, at Interlagos and then in Abu Dhabi a week later in a punishing end to the year, Hamilton's fate is out of his hands.
The Briton is third in the standings and is in desperate need of some assistance as he trails championship leader Fernando Alonso by 21 points and Mark Webber by 10.
With Sebastian Vettel also in the frame as he is 25 points adrift, these are tense, nervous times for the four main title contenders, with Jenson Button surely too far behind at 42 points down. Hamilton, though, is firmly in the hunt ahead of the race and at an Interlagos circuit that has provided its fair share of drama over the seasons for the 25-year-old, too.
It is no wonder Hamilton would prefer a Sunday afternoon stroll. "I always seem to have a unique experience in Brazil. In my first year in Formula One I battled past a load of cars, but could only finish seventh, losing out on the world championship. The following year I had another tricky race, but managed to take fifth position on the final lap to win the world title. Last year we got qualifying wrong, I started 17th and used KERS to boost my way up to third in one of the best races of my career," he said.
"I guess what I'm saying is I'd like a nice, straightforward race this year."
Of course, that is unlikely to happen, not given the circumstances of the championship, even if Alonso is now red-hot favourite after winning four of the last seven races. Surprisingly, despite the personal feud Hamilton endured in 2007 with Alonso when they were McLaren team-mates, it is the Spaniard the Briton cites as his favourite driver to race against.
"He was two-time world champion when I was the rookie, and it was great racing him. He's one of the toughest I've ever competed against," he said
Hamilton knows, though, Alonso is just as susceptible to the stress this weekend when he could win his third title if all the pieces fall into place. "He's got the experience and he knows what it's like to be in that position," added the Briton. "But he's under pressure, as we all are because we all want to win."