Hi folks...

The curtain falls on the 2008 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season this weekend in Brazil and just like last year Lewis Hamilton goes into the event leading - and favourite to take the title.

I hope he does it this time and I reckon he can. The odds are certainly stacked in his favour and he should achieve what he has always dreamt of.

It is kind of d?j?-vu though isn't it?

It is 12 months on, yet we are at the same point and while he has a seven point cushion, it is going to be the most difficult seven points for him to try and make count.

Hamilton comes in though off the back of a great race in China. Indeed it was probably one of the best grand's prix he has ever driven. But before that, ironically, he probably had one of his weakest moments in terms of judgement and the Japanese GP was a disaster.

So, all is in place for us to have a great finale...

Could lightening strike twice? Could Lewis miss out again at Interlagos?

I really hope that doesn't happen but he has to be wary and it is a possibility.

We should not discount Kimi Raikkonen and if they are side-by-side going into turn one and they get a bit close, all of a sudden those seven points are irrelevant.

That is just one scenario that could make a big difference. Kimi - and Heikki Kovalainen could both play pivotal roles

Kovalainen needs to step up to the plate and fight as much as he can to take points away from those Ferraris - Felipe Massa being the guy that he needs to make sure is sitting behind him at all times.

Everyone wants to go out on a high in the final race, but for them, there is some team playing that needs to be done. They need to take those roles into consideration and take them very seriously indeed.

I think though that Lewis knows now what is required and he understands what is needed. Furthermore, as much as there may be obstacles put in his way, I reckon everything should come together on the day.

That is not to say Felipe Massa's hopes should be written off. He will be on home soil and that will be a help and hindrance all in one. Felipe has got the home advantage and he walks into the place knowing it and with every single fan behind him. He will take the basis of that and use it in the best way he can.

But he has also got the pressure of trying to score as many points as possible and seeing whether Lewis falters.

That is a very big hope and a big wish. His hopes are slim, but let's wait and see precisely what happens on Sunday...

What I think we can say with certainty is that Interlagos should suit both the McLaren and the Ferrari.

Historically the Scuderia have enjoyed a strong package around the Sao Paulo venue and they have probably handled the bumps of the circuit a bit better in recent years than McLaren. However, on present form you would also say Ron Dennis' men should turn up and be on the pace too. The cars are pretty similar and I think the driver will be the one that makes the difference.

Massa just didn't really have the drive and the desire in the last grand prix to make things count - at least it looked that way. He was outpaced by his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, whereas Hamilton was right on it. Psychologically then, in my view, Lewis holds the upper hand in all the areas.

Of the rest, on present form Renault will probably be the closest to the top two teams, as opposed to BMW.

The Regie have made some great strides and definitely have some more horsepower in the back of their car. It seems to be suiting Fernando Alonso very nicely and Nelson Piquet Jr has been a little bit stronger too.

Alonso is the kind of guy who would relish an opportunity to take a win away from the likes of Raikkonen or Hamilton. He will be trying very hard to make that count. Ultimately I think they are still a bit behind in performance stakes but they are getting a lot closer and if something does go on at the front of the pack, a Renault-Alonso package should be quite well placed to take advantage of it.

Can we say Renault is really back?

In terms of progress and consistency made, you would have to say yes. They are there now in every grand prix and they are delivering. Not the last one, but the two before, they have got two wins under their belt and a number of other grand prix teams that would love to be able to say the same thing.

It is something they have been working on to try and make sure they keep the services of Alonso and you would have to say at the moment it has clicked. There are still some question marks to be answered but the signs are very promising for 2009.

As for BMW they could yet steal second in the constructors' and that is something they will be looking to achieve if they can get both their cars up there and score a good handful of points.

It would need a strong performance from BMW and from about halfway through the year, they seem to have slowed down in terms of progression on the '08 car. They have focused on 2009. But even on that basis they have still made some great strides. For them even if they finish third in the constructors' that will be a great achievement. The team can take a lot from 08.

Toro Rosso can also look back on the year with a lot of satisfaction. The former Minardi squad has had some great races, especially with Sebastian Vettel.

Sebastien Bourdais has been trying to do his best too, but he has been hindered slightly by a number of different things being put in the way of him having a result to shout about.

Toro Rosso though is a great little outfit that has really come on strong and it has certainly caused its 'Big Brother' team some embarrassment. I wouldn't see that changing for the last race.

Toyota has in many ways been punching above their weight too - although we should expect them to be there with the resources they have got.

Jarno Trulli is always a good qualifier and Timo Glock has been putting in some great performances. I wouldn't expect them to be sitting around and they could be in and around the top six.

Another thing not to forget in Brazil is that Red Bull Racing is only three points in front of Williams in eighth in the constructors'. That is pretty tight and no doubt disappointing from Red Bull's point of view. They have some big people and some big names. Yet I don't think they have met their targets.

There will be a lot of pressure on to make sure they get through the season in front of a couple of other teams - and Williams is a threat.

Williams have come on a bit in the last few grand's prix. It seems to be they kick off quick and falter in the mid-season. But they have come back a little bit towards the end and it was good to see Nico Rosberg on the podium in Singapore.

They are a smaller team though in this day and age. We may not think of them like that all the time because of what the team has achieved over the years. But that is the case now and it is undeniable.

Finally I turn to Honda and Force India, who will no doubt prop up the grid again on Sunday.

For Ross Brawn and Jenson Button, 2008 has been awful and they will be only too pleased to see the end of it and then the beginning of 2009. But the worry must be now when they turn up for the first race in 2009, what do they have to work with?

What is certain is that it needs to be very different to what they have had to work with this season. The might of Honda and the resources available to them means a lot of questions will be asked in '09 if not and I hope, for their sake, they have the answers and show that straight away on track.

As for Force India the squads first season has been okay. The team's place is at the back of the grid, but saying that they have had a couple of inspirational performances. They were in line to collect a handful of points in Monaco, although unfortunately we all recall how that turned out.

FIF1 is one of those teams where there may be some growth in the future. There is a lot of discussion at the moment about a possible tie-in with Mercedes and McLaren. If that comes to fruition then maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

So to sum up, I think while Massa might just pull it off in qualifying and grab pole that will be pretty much it. I expect Lewis to mop up again in the race and there is every chance he could do that going on how he performed in Shanghai. He should put it to bed in Brazil. It will be Lewis first and then Raikkonen and Massa followed by Alonso, Kovalainen and Glock.

It will also be DC's final outing and the end of a great career. He has had 13 grand prix wins and achieved a great deal since his debut back in 1994 with Williams. He is someone who has been nearly on the brink of wining the world championship, but never actually did it.

He has though done a great deal and he has been a great contributor to British motorsport. All good things come to an end though and that is the case with the 2008 F1 season too.

Here's hoping it is a great grand prix in Brazil and make the most of it - it's the last one until March next year and we don't always get a title showdown to end the season either.

Good luck Lewis.

Good luck Felipe.

May the best man win.




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