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Page last updated at 06:15 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 07:15 UK

Hamilton calm ahead of F1 climax

Singapore Grand Prix
Practice: Friday 1200 and 1430 BST Qualifying: Saturday 1500 BST
Race: Sunday 1300 BST
Race coverage: Live on ITV, text commentary on the BBC Sport website and commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live streamed on the BBC Sport website

Lewis Hamilton leads Felipe Massa in the F1 title race by one point

Lewis Hamilton believes he is in better shape for the Formula One world title showdown this year than he was in 2007.

The Englishman lost out in his debut season last year despite a healthy lead going into the final races.

"I'm definitely in a different mental state than last year," said Hamilton ahead of Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.

"Last year I was a bit tense and nervous in the last few races. This year I don't have any of that. I understand what I need to do."

Hamilton is one point ahead of title rival Felipe Massa of Ferrari with four races to go.

He would be seven points ahead had it not been for the penalty that deprived him of victory in the Belgian Grand Prix earlier this month.

McLaren failed to overturn that penalty, for gaining an advantage by going off the track while racing Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, at a hearing on Monday but Hamilton said he was not letting that prey on his mind.

Felipe Massa
Massa says Hamilton's Spa penalty would not devalue a title won by him

"All that is in the past," he said. "Now we're focusing on the next few races. I feel I've got to work hard but I don't feel any negatives about anything else."

Massa said he was not dwelling on the consequences of McLaren's failed appeal and rejected suggestions the penalty would devalue the title if he won it.

"If I win the championship by one point, I am the winner. It doesn't change anything," said the Brazilian.

"We don't need to think about that. We need to think about the championship, which is open.

"When you look at the rules, it was pretty clear the appeal was going to be difficult for them, but you never know until the result comes out.

"I think the result was pretty fair. I am not thinking about that, I am thinking about the race, which is much more important than all the political media pushing."

We have the best car for both conditions so whether dry or wet, I'm not bothered

Lewis Hamilton

The new Singapore street circuit will host F1's first night race.

The drivers, who are trying to keep their bodyclocks on European time in Singapore because the race starts at 2000 local time, have been exploring the track on bikes, scooters and on foot since their arrival.

They get their first taste of it in practice on Friday and Hamilton believes Saturday's qualifying session could be crucial in deciding the outcome of the race on Sunday because of a lack of overtaking opportunities.

"Overtaking is going to be very tricky, as it is at all street circuits," said Hamilton.

"There'll be less overtaking than at the other circuits we have. It's going to come down to qualifying."

Hamilton promised to "attack" this weekend.

The Singapore F1 race will take place at night under floodlights
The Singapore track winds through the centre of the famous city

"I think we can approach these next races with the same confidence we did the last because we have got a great package, we have done a great job to prepare the car," he added.

"I've got great confidence in the car, the reliability is good. I just need to take the right steps over the weekend, but I really feel confident.

"These last four races are like starting from scratch. There's only one point in it and I've got to look at this race the same as I have over the last few races and really try and attack this weekend and get points."

The 3.15-mile track promises to be a test for the drivers with thunderstorms forecast for Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race day, making the unknown scenario of racing under floodlights in the wet a real possibility.

If it rains, Hamilton will be many people's favourite to win given his supreme skills in the wet, but the McLaren driver is hoping for dry weather.


"We are driving at 200mph with lights flashing in our eyes and we will have to see how we deal with that," he said.

"We always hope for a dry race because it is easier, easier to push the car to the limits. In the wet it is different.

"But the fact is we have the best car for both conditions so whether dry or wet, I'm not bothered."

There will be an interview with Lewis Hamilton, as well as build-up to the Singapore Grand Prix, on 5 Live Formula One at 2130 BST on Friday 26 September on 909 & 693 MW

see also
F1 goes for a night on the town
25 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Title out of my hands - Raikkonen
25 Sep 08 |  Formula One
McLaren lose appeal over Hamilton
23 Sep 08 |  Formula One
The right ruling on Hamilton?
23 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton eyes error-free run-in
15 Sep 08 |  Formula One
McLaren discover date for appeal
12 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton finds little support
11 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton passed too soon - Massa
09 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton stripped of Belgian win
07 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton feeling heat of F1 fight
18 Jun 08 |  Formula One

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