Lewis Hamilton has shrugged off the notion that he is under pressure as the hunter rather than the hunted and needing
to outscore F1 2010 World Championship leader Fernando Alonso in this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix in order to keep his title hopes alive – insisting that the pressure is far greater on his three pace-setting rivals.
Heading into the penultimate outing on the 2010 calendar, the McLaren-Mercedes star sits 21 points adrift of Ferrari's Alonso in the drivers' standings, with Red Bull Racing ace Mark Webber in-between them, and the Australian's team-mate Sebastian Vettel four markers further in arrears in fourth.
The main issue Hamilton is facing is that his McLaren MP4-25 is palpably not as quick as either the Red Bull RB6 or Ferrari F10, leaving him having to resort to a rain dance ahead of qualifying at Interlagos – but then, he contends, it is not only pure pace that will decide the ultimate destiny of the laurels.
“I think the pressure goes down as you go down the list,” the 25-year-old mused. “When you are leading the championship you can lose it or win it, so most of the pressure is on you. The guy chasing you has a slightly easier job, so I would say myself and Jenson [Button – team-mate] probably have an easier, less intense pressure than maybe the others do.
“What stopped the Red Bulls in the last race? An engine failure and a crash. Unfortunately, our limit at the moment is a good half-a-second off the pace of the Red Bull, so in terms of pure pace in the dry, we can't really compete – but if it is wet, that will make it much more of a lottery. My car is much, much stronger than last year's car in the wet, so if it does rain we should be able to fight at least to Q3 and hopefully for the front row, and in terms of engines and reliability over the next two races, we could have a big advantage.
“A win here would be the icing on the cake. I have absolutely no misconceptions or thoughts that it is going to be easy – I know this weekend is going to be as tough as it's ever been – but I am ready for it. I feel like I have prepared myself in the best way I possibly could; I have done so much training the last couple of weeks, I feel good, I feel fit [and] I feel I am in the best position I can be. It's all positive. I'm getting everything out of the car right now and I'm going to go for it!”
However, three-time F1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart believes that McLaren's valiant charge has come too little, too late, with the Scot bluntly opining that 'there are three cars in contention now – Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Alonso'.