Lewis Hamilton would like us to believe Sunday's title showdown is just another race. Perhaps we should take such a comment with a considerable pinch of salt, because it is hard to imagine the Brazilian Grand Prix will be a normal, run-of-the-mill affair for the 23-year-old driver. After all, the championship is on the line, just as it was a year ago when Hamilton missed out by a point.
But Hamilton appears more relaxed than this time last year as he carries into Sunday's race a seven-point lead over Felipe Massa.
"It's quite a bit different," said Hamilton. "That is simply because last year we came here and I'd had one bad race, so it was all a bit hectic. The pressure of being at the last race was on me and perhaps it got to me. But this year I feel it's just another race. We've come from a great race in China and I know here we will be just as strong, if not a little bit stronger."
And as for pressure, that is all relative according to Hamilton as, again, he would like us to believe what he is experiencing right now is no different to when he competed for his first kart title at the age of eight. "It's similar to every championship," he said. "It is just another race, and that is the way you have to approach it. It's the way I've done it in the past, but it's exciting. It is great for the fans, the media, the team, everyone."
Hamilton simply has to finish in the top five to become champion, and naturally that drew questions as to his target – the win, or a solid points finish as McLaren could still take the constructors' title.
"There is no conflict of interest," Hamilton said. "It is quite simple, we are here to win, but the fact we don't have to – it is not do or die – is a weight off our shoulders."
Hamilton has also dismissed the possibility of underhand tactics wrecking his title ambitions. "I believe every driver here is a great sportsman," he said.Reuse content