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Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

I will help Massa win - Raikkonen

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

Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa
Raikkonen (left) will aid Massa's title bid in Brazil

Kimi Raikkonen has vowed to do all he can to help Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa succeed him as world champion.

Massa is seven points behind British leader Lewis Hamilton in the title race, which will be decided in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.

"I'll be glad if I can do something for Felipe so he can win the title," said Raikkonen.

Massa added: "It's a team sport and both me and Kimi know we have to do what is best for the team."

Last season, Massa surrendered the lead at Interlagos to hand Raikkonen victory and the title, by a single point from Hamilton.

Raikkonen returned the favour at this season's Chinese Grand Prix, boosting Massa's title chances by allowing the Brazilian to easily pass him for second place.

606: DEBATE
Whitenights

On home soil in Brazil, Massa needs to finish first or second to have a chance of denying Hamilton, and is relying on the full support of his team.

"I know there have been comments about me overtaking Kimi in the final stages of that race [China], but they have come from people who don't really understand how the sport works," remarked Massa.

"Psychologically, a racing driver always wants to finish in front, but all drivers have a contract with their team, so you are not racing as an individual.

"When you are fighting for the championship, with only one driver in with a mathematical chance of winning, then all the teams in the pit lane would do the same.

"That is, to put that one driver in a position where he has the best chance of winning. That is part of this sport."

Raikkonen added: "Once you don't fight for the title any more, then for me, it does not make a difference if I finish second or third, as long as the points for Ferrari remain the same.

"I couldn't win the drivers' title this year, but I assure you that I'll try again next year."

In the McLaren camp, Hamilton is maintaining a level-headed approach to the season showdown in Brazil.

Last year the Englishman had taken a seven-point lead to Brazil only to see his title chances evaporate on race day.

WHAT HAMILTON NEEDS TO DO
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

After starting second on the grid, he ran wide on the first lap and then suffered a gearbox problem; though he recovered to finish seventh it was not enough to prevent Raikkonen taking the title.

"Last year, without the experience, I was a bit lost," said Hamilton, who is aiming to succeed 1996 winner Damon Hill as Britain's latest world champion.

"This year we go in with a much better approach but, despite that, I don't believe it gives us any reason to get ahead of ourselves.

"We need to keep our feet on the ground and head into the race with the approach we had in China.

"If we are able to do that, then we will be in a great position.

"We know we don't have to win. We just have to do a solid job, and that has to be our target."

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see also
Massa shrugs off title pressure
28 Oct 08 |  Formula One
F1 standings
03 Jul 07 |  Motorsport
Interlagos, Brazil
17 Feb 08 |  Circuit Guide
The man Hamilton must beat
19 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Ferrari make F1 engine row threat
28 Oct 08 |  Motorsport
Schumacher expects Hamilton reign
27 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton targets final title push
24 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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