Felipe Massa has insisted that attempting to land the Formula One world title on home soil at Interlagos adds no extra pressure to that he is already putting on himself this weekend.
Brazil has not won the title since Ayrton Senna took the last of his three crowns in 1991, and Sao Paolo native Massa will have the majority of the crowd behind him as he takes to the track in his home town in an effort to deny Lewis Hamilton the ultimate glory in a hard-fought season. The Ferrari man is the outsider, however, needing to win the race and
hope that Hamilton finishes outside the top five.
"For sure, they know [the situation], but you know how fans are - they are very excited, they try to push you, trying to put you in the best position," he reasoned, "For sure, the position is quite difficult, but I have a great time in my country. I have great motivation, great encouragement from my fans and that's fantastic. You go out to restaurants, in the road and everybody looks to you and congratulates you and gives a lot of good energy for the weekend. I think that's a great feeling, and it's a great time to be here, fighting for the championship in my home country and in a good position in my career."
Massa was just ten when Senna clinched his third title, but admits that he would be honoured to maintain Brazil's proud record in Formula One.
"I remember Senna winning the championships, fighting for some others in which he was very competitive as well," he admitted, "As a Brazilian, Senna was like a kind of god here, and before that was Nelson [Piquet Jr]'s father. I think we have a great country in terms of building drivers, and I would hope that we can carry on with that story. I would love to win the championship, that's why I'm here, that's what I'm working for, doing my best to achieve my dreams, but also trying to keep up the nice story that Brazil has in Formula One. It will be fantastic."
Having been at the front of the field throughout his career, Massa shares a similar background to title rival Hamilton, and insists that he is not feeling any more pressure simply because he is now chasing the F1 crown.
"When you are racing, it doesn't matter whether you are in Formula One or in go-karts, whatever category you are.....," he maintained, "When you get inside the car, you are thinking about racing, not thinking 'I am in Formula One and it is the most important motorsport'.
"You don't think about that, you think about racing. You think about doing your best and fighting so, for me, it is exactly the same fighting for the championship in Formula One or for victory or whatever in a go-kart. When you are in a go-kart, you want to win. It is your dream - your motivation is to win that race or that championship. You don't think about Formula One as you live for that moment. That's why it is the same now. You want to win now
. For sure, you have much more expectation and pressure [from outside] but, when you are driving, you don't think about that."
Like Hamilton, Massa also enjoys the support of his family, who will again be in the Ferrari pit throughout the Interlagos weekend, hoping that he can overturn the seven-point deficit that currently separates him from top spot.