A select early morning gathering at British Racing Drivers' Club headquarters was left disappointed when Lewis Hamilton failed to clinch to Formula One title in China, but president Damon Hill is still backing the Briton to get the job done in Brazil.

Hill, the last British driver to win the F1 title, watched a private screening of the race with more than 100 British fans at Silverstone and reckons that the four-point advantage Hamilton now enjoys over team-mate and chief rival Fernando Alonso will be enough to see the Briton home at Interlagos in two weeks - despite several historical factors suggesting the opposite.

"My instant reaction to what happened today was disbelief, but Lewis bounced back instantly by saying that he is still fighting, he's still leading the championship," the 1996 world champion commented, "His conduct as a sportsman is absolutely amazing. He's come in as a rookie and is out there beating the best drivers in the world.

"Lewis still leads the championship and will go into the next race just as confident as he's been all season. Here at Silverstone, we'll be putting on another party to watch
the Brazilian Grand Prix in two weeks' time. This championship is set for a grandstand finish!"

Should Hamilton get the result required in Brazil, he will re-write the history books by becoming the youngest ever champion - beating Alonso's record - but those same history books suggest that the Spaniard is more likely to succeed.

Setting aside the fact that Alonso has claimed both of his titles at Interlagos, previous three-way battles have seldom favoured the frontrunner. Indeed, only three of eight such title fights have gone that way, with the man lying second coming out on top more often. With Kimi Raikkonen still in contention after his win in Shanghai, Hamilton will have to call on all of the metal fortitude that has seen him through the year, especially as the mistake he made in China could add to the pressure on his young shoulders.

The last time three drivers went into the final round with a shot at the crown, in 1986, Alain Prost clinched his second title after overcoming the warring Williams duo of Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet in Adelaide. On that occasion, the Frenchman actually shared second in the standings with Piquet, both seven points shy of Mansell with nine on offer for the win. All three took turns as favourite to clinch the crown, with Mansell's hopes ended by an exploding tyre and Piquet's by a precautionary pit-stop that dropped him behind Prost, who took the title by two points.

 

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