Lewis Hamilton has said that he will not shy away from attempting to confirm himself as the only driver to deprive Red Bull Racing of pole position in 2012, even though rain is forecast for raceday at Interlagos.
The Briton ended RBR's pacesetting streak in Korea, but has since seen Sebastian Vettel reclaim top spot in Saturday's qualifying hour in both India and Abu Dhabi. Hamilton arrives in Brazil full of confidence, however, having won at Yas Marina last time out, the result of an early - and rare - retirement for the double world champion. His manner was further improved by setting the fastest time across two free practice sessions on Friday at Interlagos, but the McLaren driver acknowledges that he will be in a fight for pole, with both Vettel and RBR team-mate Mark Webber looking racy, and McLaren's other driver, Jenson Button featuring strongly in FP1.
"It was a pretty solid day, not far from perfect as a day goes," Hamilton told Britain's Daily Express
at the end of Friday's two sessions, in which he finished a tenth clear of Vettel at the top of the times, "But it doesn't mean, when we get into qualifying, that we're easily going to be fastest. It's quite close and, every time we go into Q3, the Red Bull seems to do something. But I might be pleasantly surprised...."
With an 90 per cent chance of rain arriving over Sao Paulo on Sunday, however, Hamilton admits that getting pole might only count for personal pride - even if he still feels confident of coming out on top in a wet race.
"At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what happened [in qualifying] because it is going to be raining this weekend," the Briton noted, But that puts us in an even stronger position [because] we'll be really good in the wet."
The only seriously wet race of 2011 came in Canada and, although Hamilton didn't win on that occasion, he has reason to be optimistic as team-mate Button overhauled Vettel to claim a sensational win for McLaren.