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Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Massa shrugs off title pressure

Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos
Practice: Friday 1200-1330 and 1600-1730 Qualifying: Saturday at 1600 GMT Race: Sunday at 1700 GMT Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sport website and ITV1

Felipe Massa
Massa has emerged as Hamilton's sole challenger for the F1 drivers' crown

Felipe Massa insists he is unfazed as he attempts to clinch the Formula One title ahead of rival Lewis Hamilton at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver trails Hamilton by seven points in the title race heading into Sunday's race at Interlagos.

"I have zero pressure because I have nothing to lose," said Massa.

"I have a harder job ahead of me than Lewis in terms of points but my gameplan for the end of the week is more simple than his - I must win."

Hamilton, 23, only needs to cross the line in fifth place in Brazil to become the youngest world champion in the history of F1 following his victory at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Massa, on the other hand, must finish first or second to have any hope of pipping the Englishman to a maiden world drivers' crown.

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

However, the Brazilian believes knowing exactly what he has to do on his home track in Sao Paulo is an advantage.

"My own objective for the weekend is much more straightforward than his," added Massa.

"I only have to focus on winning the race on Sunday afternoon, hopefully with my team-mate Kimi Raikkonen second behind me.

"The only thing I am thinking about is winning. After that, the matter is not in my hands and we will have to wait and see exactly what and how much we have won."

Massa has been on pole in Brazil for the past two seasons and finished second to Raikkonen in 2007 after allowing the Finn past to collect the win he needed to become world champion.

The 27-year-old is also confident his good form at Interlagos, coupled with the support of his home fans, could also play into his hands.

"It is impossible to predict what will happen at the Brazilian Grand Prix but I think our car has always been very good at this circuit," stated Massa.

"Another plus for me is that I will have a huge following here in my home town, I have my people behind me."

Hamilton heads to Brazil with the same points advantage he held over Raikkonen last season but will aim to avoid repeating the misfortunes that resulted in him being denied the title.

In 2007, the McLaren driver ran off the road trying unnecessarily to pass then team-mate Fernando Alonso before a gearbox problem left him at the tail of the field.

He was able to recover only to seventh as Raikkonen won to snatch the title from Hamilton's grasp by a single point - and Massa believes the memories of that race could still affect his English rival.

"All the pressure will be on him," he said. "Especially when you think about what happened at this race last year.

"For sure, Lewis will try to put pressure on me but I can't wait for the final Sunday of the season."

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see also
Interlagos, Brazil
17 Feb 08 |  Circuit Guide
Ferrari make F1 engine row threat
27 Oct 08 |  Motorsport
Schumacher expects Hamilton reign
27 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton targets final title push
24 Oct 08 |  Formula One
The man Hamilton must beat
19 Oct 08 |  Formula One
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

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