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Page last updated at 21:13 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 22:13 UK

Hamilton targets final title push

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton is aiming to be the first British champion since Damon Hill in 1996

Lewis Hamilton is looking for a repeat of his focused performance in China when the F1 season climaxes in Brazil.

The McLaren star leads the championship by seven points from Ferrari's Felipe Massa after his Shanghai victory.

"Our aim wasn't to push too hard, but we found ourselves at the front and took it from there," said the Briton.

"That's what I'm hoping to achieve in Brazil - a straightforward weekend that allows me to just focus on my car and my driving."

A year ago, Hamilton had the title in his sights at Interlagos in his debut season, but his weekend was anything but clear cut.

McLaren had an FIA observer stationed in their garage to ensure fair play following the team's dramatic falling-out with Hamilton's team-mate Fernando Alonso.

If Massa wins in Brazil, Hamilton must finish at least fifth to be champion
If Massa is second, Hamilton must finish at least seventh
If Massa is third or lower, Hamilton is champion regardless of his result in Brazil

On race day, a tense-looking Hamilton endured a miserable opening lap, running wide at one point to drop to eighth after starting second on the grid.

More agony followed on lap eight when he suffered a gearbox issue that relegated him to 18th, and despite a brave charge through the field, he could only finish seventh.

Hamilton missed out on the title by a point that day as Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen claimed the drivers' crown.

Next Sunday, the 23-year-old simply has to finish in the top five to take his place in F1 history.

"Fundamentally, I'll approach this race the same way I've approached the previous races," he said.

"Obviously, my aim for Brazil is slightly different from the other Grands Prix because I don't need to win the race.


"But that won't stop me from going into the weekend looking to be as strong as possible."

Given the pressure of the situation, Hamilton added he will "take absolutely nothing for granted.

"I still need to pull together a strong qualifying lap, be competitive during the race and avoid failing to finish," he said.

"I know how this sport works sometimes, so I'd be foolish to go to Brazil feeling over-confident."

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see also
Interlagos, Brazil
17 Feb 08 |  Circuit Guide
Hamilton can take pressure - Hill
19 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton 'calm' over title finale
19 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton closes on title with win
19 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Rivals criticise Hamilton tactics
17 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton hits back at criticism
15 Oct 08 |  Formula One

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