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Fuji, 28-30 September, 2007
The Chequered Flag podcast

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his victory in the Japanese Grand Prix
Hamilton is on the verge of an incredible rookie title win
Lewis Hamilton admitted he was on the verge of emulating some of his Formula One heroes in winning the drivers' title at the wheel of a McLaren.

Hamilton's victory in the Japanese Grand Prix puts him 12 points clear of team-mate Fernando Alonso with just 20 available in the two remaining races.

"On the last lap, I was thinking about some of the races [Ayrton] Senna was in and [Alain] Prost," Hamilton said.

"And I was thinking I was on my way to achieving something similar to them."

But Hamilton said he would not be celebrating until the title was in the bag.

"It is a big boost in terms of confidence in my drive to be world champion," he said.

I need a retirement from Lewis - if it is a normal weekend, it's over

Fernando Alonso
"But we still have two races left, and anything can happen, so we need to knuckle down. I won't be going partying.

"At the back of your mind, in the subconscious, you do think about it a little bit but I think the key for me is just focus on the next race and just make sure my preparations are right and take it as it comes.

"I hope we have the pace to again have the opportunity to win. We'll see after the next race."

Alonso crashed out of the race, which was run in torrential rain, and afterwards admitted his hopes of a third championship in a row were all but over.

"I really need a miracle to win," the Spaniard said.

"It's not over mathematically, but there's no doubt I need a very unlucky weekend for him [in China next week].

"I need a retirement from him. If it is a normal weekend, it's over."

But he pointed out that last year he suffered a late setback in his title fight with Michael Schumacher when the German won the Chinese Grand Prix, only for events to turn in Alonso's favour in Japan a week later.

"It was the same conditions, Michael (Schumacher) was the favourite to win with two races to go, he had an engine problem in Suzuka and I recovered the points," said Alonso.

"Maybe it can happen. I need to keep pushing."

Alonso's car was damaged in a collision with Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel, but he said that was not the reason for the crash.

"In the car I felt a little bit strange after the touch but I think the accident at the end was because of aquaplaning," he said.

If Hamilton wins the championship, either in China or Brazil two weeks later, he will become the first man ever to win the title in his first season in the sport.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis pledged equal treatment to both drivers as the championship comes to a climax.

"Both Lewis and Fernando have a chance of claiming the title," he said. "We will make sure that they both have the opportunity to do so and look forward to an exciting end to the championship."

Hamilton wants Alonso out of team
30 Sep 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton moves to brink of title
30 Sep 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton fuels rift with Alonso
28 Sep 07 |  Formula One
Dennis puts Alonso talks on hold
29 Sep 07 |  Formula One


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