Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton have both said that, while they have no intention of interfering with the ongoing F1 world championship battle between Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, they would continue to race both hard in the USA and Brazil.
Vettel and Alonso arrive at this weekend's USGP in Texas separated by ten points, with the German able to clinch a third successive crown by finishing 15 points clear of his rival. That would require the Red Bull man to win with Alonso outside the top four, finish second with the Spaniard outside the top eight, or take third with Alonso not scoring - all of which are possible given the form shown by McLaren and Lotus in the recent Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Hamilton led comfortably before his retirement handed victory to Raikkonen.
"Of course, the team is happy, and I'm happy that we finally won, [but] I don't expect [that] we [are] suddenly going to start winning or being in front," Raikkonen said of the final two rounds, "Probably it's going to be very similar to where we've been in the last races, in top five, and then go from there and see what happens.
"We try to do the best that we can as a team in the race and, wherever we end up, if we take some points out of either of [the title contenders], that's racing, that's life. We don't try to disturb anything, we're just doing our normal race and see what happens. I'm not looking who is there, or if I'm taking points from them or somebody else. We just try to win and, if not, to score as much as we can."
Hamilton agreed that, come Sunday, the competitive edge would take over.
"We have no means to try and get in the way of anyone, but we want to beat them," he confirmed, "We're still fighting for position in the championship, even though we're not fighting for the top position, so we just have to focus on our job. Kimi did a great job in the last race, and I think we were very strong as well, so hopefully we will have less reliability issues this weekend and compete right at the front with all these guys."
Hamilton also shared the view that, regardless of whether he was involved or Vettel was heading to a hat-trick of titles, the season was all the better for the battle going down to the wire.
"I think to keep the championship title battle right to the last races is, for me, the most exciting thing," he noted, "When I've watched it in the past, when the championship's finished before, there's not really a lot of point watching the last few races. The suspense is not there. I think we've just got to try - and this year is a good year – to show that hopefully these guys will go to the last race and people will enjoy it."