Lewis Hamilton says he is braced for the 'pain' of losing his Formula 1 world title to Nico Rosberg ahead of a crucial Brazilian Grand Prix but says history has taught him not to give up on his slimming hopes until it is impossible to win.
With two rounds of the season remaining, Rosberg's 19 point advantage over Hamilton in the overall standings means a win at Interlagos – where he has won in 2014 and 2015 – will be enough for the German to become F1 world champion for the first time.
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A high stakes weekend for Hamilton, who has never won on Brazilian soil, the three-time champion nonetheless arrives on the back of an upturn in form having dominated in Austin and Mexico City.
However, with similar performances in Brazil and Abu Dhabi not necessarily guaranteeing him the title if Rosberg finished close to him on the road in both races, Hamilton admits it is strange approaching the weekend knowing a perfect performance may not be enough.
“It's a great feeling when you're able to show the kind of pace I've shown at the past two races. Everyone has worked so hard and the car has really been faultless. The speed has been there all season - I just haven't always had the opportunity to take advantage of it.
“In terms of the Championship, it's an unusual scenario to be in - fighting for something and not knowing for sure that what you do will guarantee you're able to make it. One outcome would be painful and the other would be a great achievement.
“Regardless, I'm going to keep pushing. Since the beginning of my Formula One career I've seen that everything can change even at the very last moment, so you have to fight to the bitter end. I've never won in Brazil, so I go into this weekend focused on changing that.”
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