For all his success in F1, there are still things that Lewis Hamilton needs to achieve, starting this weekend at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
With the shackles off, the three-time world champion - who clinched his latest title two races ago in Austin - will be more keen than ever to come out on top at Interlagos, having gone a long way towards matching the feats of his hero, and local favourite, Ayrton Senna this season. Remarkably, the Brazilian took a long time to break through on home soil, and Hamilton heads into his ninth race at Interlagos looking to better the second place he claimed at last year's race.
“It's amazing to think that it took Ayrton eight attempts to win this race and it's one of the few I haven't yet won myself,” the Briton, who has only one other podium finish in Brazil, noted, “If I can change that this weekend, it would be a salute to him and another highlight to add to this amazing year, so I'll be going all out to make that happen.”
Hamilton's admiration of Senna makes Interlagos one of the more emotional stops on the schedule for the Mercedes driver, but he insists that he enjoys the challenge presented by the undulating Sao Paulo circuit as much as the atmosphere brought by its packed grandstands.
“Interlagos is one of the real classics - quite short, tough on tyres, with variable weather and a really tricky start to the lap that always seems to bring drama,” he explained, “But then there's the fans. The Brazilian people are so passionate, fun and outgoing. It's a vibrant country, full of colour, and somewhere that's quite special to me.
“This was the home race for Ayrton, so it was a dream of mine to race in Sao Paulo when I was younger and I always feel his presence when I'm there. He was such a huge hero in Brazil and it's humbling that I always get such a warm response there.”
With team-mate Nico Rosberg winning both last year's Brazilian Grand Prix and last time out this season in Mexico, Hamilton knows that he will not have it easy this weekend, and Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe anticipates another close-fought race.
“We look forward to another exciting and entertaining weekend in Sao Paulo,” he confirmed, “This was, of course, where Lewis clinched his first world championship title but, surprisingly, he has never won at Interlagos. We saw a fascinating duel between our two drivers there last year, with Nico emerging on top after a fantastic drive so, hopefully, we'll be treated to another good battle at the penultimate race of this season.”