Lewis Hamilton is refusing to get carried away by premature dreams of lifting the Formula One world title, despite victory at the penultimate round in China giving him a seven-point advantage over sole remaining rival Felipe Massa.
The Briton cruised to his fifth win of the year at the Shanghai International Circuit, increasing his lead over Massa by two points after the Ferrari drivers predictably swapped positions in the closing stages to give the Brazilian the best opportunity of overhauling his rival in the Interlagos finale next weekend. With a seven-point cushion, Hamilton only needs to finish fifth in Brazil - something he should be able to do according to the form book - but he will be mindful that he held a similar advantage over Kimi Raikkonen last season, and lost the title by a single point.
Hamilton's task last season was less straightforward as he was involved in a three-way battle, with McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso just four points adrift going to the final round, but the Briton insists that he is not letting images of success cloud his focus ahead of the showdown with Massa.
"I have not really thought about it, to be honest," he said, "In terms of how close I feel, I have not really thought about that. Coming into this weekend, we were targeting both races and looking at both of them, hopefully, to do a good job and, hopefully, we can have good points from both.
"[The title] is on your mind, for sure, but the fact that we have done a good job [here] is what we needed to do. It is just that one step closer - we still have a tough race ahead of us in Brazil, but I am really looking forward to it."
Hamilton maintained that, contrary to last season - and, even to some extent, his own mindset in Japan a week ago - the McLaren gameplan was to try and spread the points target over the two remaining races. That victory came its way on Sunday was more a product of a superior package than any great determination to win, the Briton insists.
"The team deserve it," he said, "We have worked very, very hard throughout the season and I think our approach to this race was right. It was not to go out and win everything just in this race. It was to look at both races to try and score as many points collectively. I know, going to Brazil, we will be in a much better situation compared to last year, and we also know that we will be a lot more competitive than we were here, so that is comforting. We know that we have got to do a good job. It will be tough and [Ferrari] will be pushing us hard, but hopefully, as a team, we can pull through.
"It [will be] a similar approach to what I had this weekend, which was a better approach than I had last year coming here. Hopefully, with the same approach that we've had this year, a bit calmer, a bit more confident in the package and what we have to do…
"I think the last race of last year was tough. We went to Brazil and we were on the back foot - knowing that Ferrari would be very competitive in Brazil, it was going to be tough. I think having a good race [in China], we will settle back down tomorrow, back to where we were at the beginning of this week, and we will work very, very hard to arrive in Brazil even more competitive. I'm feeling good about it."