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GP Week : Issue 34
> F1NEWS> CHAMPIONSHIP rivals Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa are refusing to give an inch in the rundown to their championship face-off in Brazil this weekend. With the McLaren and Ferrari drivers separated by just seven points leading into the final race of the 2008 season, the championship could still go either way. But despite the weight of expectation sure to be leaning heavy on both drivers, neither one is ready to admit that they are feeling the pressure. “Obviously my aim for Brazil is slightly different from the other Grands Prix,”said Hamilton, who flies to Brazil knowing that a fifth place finish in the race will be enough to net him his first World Championship, in so doing becoming the youngest world champion in F1 history. “I don’t need to win the race, but that won’t stop me from going into the weekend looking to be as strong as possible. Shanghai was a good example of that. That’s what I am hoping to achieve in Brazil – a straightforward weekend that allows me to just focus on my car and my driving.” Massa, meanwhile, accepts that although he faces by far the sterner challenge in overhauling the Briton’s lead, his objectives are by far the simpler. “Yes it’s true I have a tougher job than Lewis in terms of the points situation but my own objective for the weekend is much more straightforward than his,”Massa told Ferrari’s official website. “I only have to focus on winning the race on Sunday afternoon, hopefully with my team- mate second behind me. The only thing I am thinking about is winning. After that, the matter is not in my hands and we will have to wait and see exactly what and how much we have won.” While Hamilton has claimed he enjoys racing on the home circuit of his childhood hero Ayrton Senna, Massa knows the home advantage that benefitted Senna as a Brazilian will also benefit him. “I will have a huge following here in my home town,”said Massa. “For sure, Lewis will try and put pressure on me, but I have zero pressure, because I have nothing to lose. I have my people behind me and all the pressure will be on him, especially when you think about what happened at this race last year. I can’t wait for the final Sunday of the season.” Hamilton has been handed some advice from former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan, who is expected to return to the sport in 2009 as a pundit for British broadcaster, The BBC. “What happens next in the championship depends on whether Lewis has learnt from his last two races,” Jordan told the Daily Express Newspaper. “He was brilliant in China when he drove flawlessly to victory but awful, just awful in Japan. If the Hamilton of China turns up in Brazil, he will be world champion. “He should look no further than his old team- mate Fernando Alonso,”he said. “Alonso may not care much for Lewis but he has shown him how to win the title. He has won two out of the last three races by driving consummately, professionally and calmly. You did not see him doing that by taking unnecessary risks. Lewis could do a lot worse than learn from that.” Jordan also claimed that if push came to shove, the Briton might have to consider taking extreme measures. “Lewis needs to be careful. He knows that right now the world is against him – the other drivers are against him and the stewards are against him. People may not like me for saying this, but if Massa tries to take him out as he did in Japan in order to steal the title then Lewis has to be ready for it. If he tries that on then Lewis has to turn his wheel into Massa to ensure he does not finish the race either – he has to take his wheel off.” Lewis Hamilton will be champion if he finishes ... n Ahead of Massa n 5th or higher n 6th or 7th with Massa 2nd or lower n 8th or lower with Massa not 1st or 2nd Felipe Massa will be champion if he finishes ... n 1st with Hamilton 6th or lower n 2nd with Hamilton 8th or lower