Lewis Hamilton has claimed that he doesn't suffer nightmares recalling how last year's Formula One world championship slipped out of his grasp, even though he is heading into the final two races of 2008 in a remarkably similar situation.
This time last year, the Briton - then a rookie riding a wave of success with the McLaren team - arrived at the penultimate round of the season with a twelve-point advantage over closest rival - and team-mate - Fernando Alonso and 17 points in hand over third-placed Kimi Raikkonen, having produced a wet-weather masterclass at Fuji. However, a mistake entering the pits on worn tyres in tricky conditions saw the McLaren end up beached in the gravel and, with Raikkonen leading Alonso across the line, the battle went on to Interlagos - where, of course, Raikkonen completed an unexpected comeback to snatch the title by a single point.
Fast forward twelve months and Hamilton, now undisputed McLaren team leader despite being in only his second year of F1, arrives at the penultimate round of the season with a diminishing five-point advantage over Ferrari's Felipe Massa, with outsider Robert Kubica just a dozen points adrift thanks to the consistency of his results with BMW Sauber.
Hamilton's recent performances, however, have had a degree of déjà vu
about them - with an unfathomable mistake over tyres seeing him exit Italian GP qualifying in phase two, a narrow escape from a similar fate in Singapore being followed by a bad break courtesy of the safety car and, finally, an error borne out of impetuosity in Japan contriving to limit his points haul - prompting former champions to suggest that he needs to regain his focus if he is to prevent the title going elsewhere again.
The Briton, however, remains positive, and insists that he does not replay images of last year's Shanghai gaffe when reflecting on this year's situation.
"Sometimes, I've been on YouTube
and seen a video clip or a picture of me in the gravel and thought 'Damn! That shouldn't have happened', but it was a learning mistake," he claimed, "I can still move forwards from it. Things like that happen for a reason and it taught me a lot. In fact, last year, the last couple
of races taught me a lot about my personality and my life - and I'm stronger for it."
Last year's Chinese Grand Prix was blighted by mixed weather conditions, and the forecast for this weekend suggest more of the same, but Hamilton is confident that he can produce whatever the conditions.
"I've said before that I don't mind racing in the wet or the dry," he pointed out, "Of course, it's safer in the dry, and I guess those are the conditions that racing drivers prefer. But, having said that, I would just prefer it if the weather wasn't too changeable during the weekend.
"When the track starts drying out, or it starts raining during the race, that is when things become a real lottery. At this stage in the season, you need things to be as reliable as possible for you."