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Hamilton expects a fair fight in Brazil

October 31, 2008 10:25 IST

Lewis Hamilton [Images] has dismissed fears that his bid to become Formula One's youngest world champion could be wrecked by underhand tactics in Sunday's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

"We're here to race, I believe every driver that's here is a great sportsman and we're all very competitive," the 23-year-old McLaren driver told a news conference at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

"So I just have to trust and believe in everybody and hope that we can have a fair, straight race.

"That's what motor racing is all about and that's why I race, that's what makes it so exciting."

Hamilton leads Ferrari's [Images] Brazilian Felipe Massa [Images] by seven points, meaning that the Briton needs to only finish fifth to take the title even if his Brazilian rival wins the race.

The two collided in Japan [Images] this month, with Hamilton failing to score points after being penalised for a wild start and then having to fight back from last position following the Massa incident.

Massa denied deliberately colliding with his rival and said at Fuji: "I have a good relationship with Lewis and would not do anything to destroy someone on purpose."

However, Formula One has been plunged into controversy in title-deciding races in the past, notably between Michael Schumacher [Images] and Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in 1997 and Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1989 and 1990.


Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, whose Honda team have been so far off the pace this season that he is unlikely to be in any position to assist his compatriot, predicted a straight fight and urged local fans to show their sense of fair play.

"I don't think I can help him [Massa] much, unfortunately," said the former Ferrari driver. "I would be willing to get some help from him.

"All I would ask of the guys who come here to cheer Felipe on is to respect Lewis.

"Imagine me doing something against Lewis -- would Felipe be happy with that? Would he be a worthy champion? I don't think so," added Barrichello.

"I think the guys have fought the whole championship by themselves and that's the way it has to be. I would not get in the way."

While Massa must aim to win and hope for the best, Hamilton is under pressure to make up for his failure last year to become the first rookie champion.

The Briton drew a blank in China and then allowed Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen [Images] to make up a seven point deficit and win the title at Interlagos in 2007 and he has vowed not to let that happen again.

"Last year we came here and I'd had one bad race, so it was all a bit hectic and the pressure of being at the last race was upon me and perhaps it got to me," said Hamilton, who this time arrived in Sao Paulo on the back of a dominant win in Shanghai.

"But this year I feel it's just another race. We've come from a great race in China and I know here that we will be just as strong if not a little bit stronger.

"It looks positive and again, my approach is the same as in the last race," added the Briton, who would be McLaren's first champion since Mika Hakkinen in 1999 and his country's first since Damon Hill in 1996.

"We are just here to do the best job we can and we're not looking at it and saying that we have to do anything again."

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