Lewis Hamilton has insisted that he does not need to change his approach to racing, despite his second world championship campaign coming down to the wire over the final three races of 2008.

As was the case in his rookie season, the Briton holds the upper hand heading into Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, but Hamilton - and the entire McLaren team - is well aware of the pitfalls that could lie ahead, having thrown away a golden chance to make history in 2007, when they allowed Kimi Raikkonen to snatch the crown by a single point, having been 17 behind with two rounds to go.

While McLaren boss Ron Dennis openly admits that the team is focused more on the championship than race wins at this stage of the season, and will instruct Hamilton to drive tactically if necessary - as it did in Singapore - the former GP2 champion admits that he will not be altering his own mindset lest he lose focus.

"I just try to take every race as it comes and I am definitely, compared to last year, looking at the championship and what I need to do to win it," Hamilton admitted, "It is obviously within my grasp but we, as a team, have to put a really strong effort in to continue with the momentum we have. For me, I am approaching every race exactly as I have throughout the season. I don't think I need to change anything, just keep the car on the road and try and bring it home and score some good points."

Having seen his advantage over main rival Felipe Massa ebb and flow in recent weeks as Ferrari - and the FIA - ensured that the battle would remain close into the final stages, Hamilton admitted that he was delighted to take the upper hand in qualifying at Fuji.

"Going into qualifying, we had already decided what our strategy would be and we believed it would be competitive and put us in a good position for the race," he revealed, "But, as you know in qualifying, it is down to you not making mistakes and putting the sectors together and really pulling out the lap. It can be very tough but, again, we had very good pace here. We have been able to outpace the Ferraris, which is great for us, and I think [it was] a really strong showing from me and from Heikki [Kovalainen]. Hopefully, tomorrow, we can push forward with the strategy we have and really challenge for the front."

Hamilton's mood of optimism was heightened when he realised that Massa would not be lining up alongside him, as he has for much of the season. The Brazilian admitted to making mistakes in the final phase of Saturday's crucial timed session, which allowed both Kovalainen and the potent Fernando Alonso to push him back to fifth spot.

"To be honest, I was just happy to see Heikki pull up alongside," Hamilton confessed, "I think it's great for the team and that's all I was really thinking of. At the end of my lap, I was hoping that Heikki was either beside me or at least behind me, so we could both score as many points for the team.

"I wouldn't say it was a perfect qualifying session, [but] I think it was a step forward from my previous session in Singapore. I think Q1 went really well, Q2 also, but I didn't seem to be as quick as Felipe there. But, going into Q3, the first lap wasn't great, but I managed to pull it together on the last lap - although I did lose a bit of time in one corner.

"You can say [I was] surprised [Massa was back on row three] because he looked very quick through Q1 and Q2. My thoughts were probably the same as yours, but I don't know the reason for it - maybe he made a mistake, I don't know. But there's still no doubt he will have a strong race."

Hamilton refused to make predictions for Sunday, however, aware that he is at the head of a closely-matched field, with other 'big guns' up front with him.

"I think we're in a perfect position to make a step forward and try to score as many points as we can collectively, me and Heikki, but it's going to be a tough race with Kimi there - and also you could see Fernando was very strong," he noted, "We don't know what the weather's going to be like, but we just have to focus on our job and try to score as many points as we can."

The Briton also paid tribute to the atmosphere within the McLaren team which, in contrast to 2007, appears to be a more tranquil, and focused, operation.

"It's a fantastic team," he insisted, "They've just kept their heads high and just kept pushing forward and working and working. As a result of all their hard work, we have fantastic reliability and a very competitive car. We work so well as a team, all together, and me and Heikki really work well together, so I'm very, very happy."

There is also something about Hamilton and Fuji, where the Briton won spectacularly in wet conditions twelve months ago.

"I love it here in Japan. The track is really cool, and the whole feeling around here feels good - it is great to be here again. I really like this circuit, and it's particularly grown on me even more, I think, since I've been here [this year]. The track isn't that long, but it is still a real pleasure to drive in the wet and the dry. I think other circuits aren't so much fun in the wet, but this track has a different surface, so it's great fun."