Sao Paulo: Lewis Hamilton expects another fierce challenge from Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg when the pair resume hostilities at the Brazilian Grand Prix with the season-ending Abu Dhabi double points lottery looming.
Only days after claiming his 10th win of the season at the United States Grand Prix in Texas, Hamilton has pledged to work as hard as possible to triumph again in his bid for a second championship.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg (r). Pic/ Getty Images
But the 2008 champion knows that even if he wins at Interlagos on Sunday, and his German rival fails to finish, he can still miss out on the title if he flops in Abu Dhabi and Rosberg grabs double points with a victory worth 50 points in the final race of the season.
"I feel that I understand the processes that I need and I know what it takes," said Hamilton as he looked ahead to this weekend's race.
"There's no real special recipe or anything like that, I'm just going to work my arse off for these next two races and try to improve."
In Texas, he admitted that the prospect of losing the title under the double points rule in Abu Dhabi "would suck". Rosberg, understandably, has said he will accept the glory whatever happens -- he just wants to be champion by any means.
"It is what it is, I don't really care," said Rosberg. "As long as I have one point more at the chequered flag at Abu Dhabi, I don't care why or how. It's the same for everybody... It's a childhood dream, isn't it, to be F1 World Champion? It would be very special."
Hamilton won his fifth consecutive race in Austin to open up a 24-point lead ahead of Rosberg.
"You don't really look five or 10 races ahead. I've just always kept my head down, kept chipping away," said Hamilton. "I had those four wins (early in the season), and then there was a bad patch from Monaco onwards. Then Spa was like 'I'm going to turn this up. I'm going to have to turn this up -- this means war'. It was that kind of feeling. Reflecting on it, I turned the energy from that negative bomb into a positive."
On paper, it looks as if Hamilton has the measure of Rosberg after dominating the last five races, but the 29-year-old Englishman will have none of that and is ready for another fierce scrap in what may be a wet race this weekend. "I'm not sure I do have an edge," said Hamilton. "Every weekend Nico resets. He comes in and qualifies on pole. He's massively strong, mentally. He's still there, still fighting."
After their domination in Texas, the two Mercedes men have been left as the only contenders for the title while behind them much attention will focus on the plight of struggling teams and their prospects for next year.
A provisional entry list issued by the ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA) this week included teams representing both Caterham and Marussia, even though they are both expected to be absent in Brazil where another 18-car grid is in prospect.
Marussia's entry has been made under the name of Manor Grand Prix Racing.
Entry payments are required by the end of November, by when much else -- including the future destinations of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel and two-time champion Fernando Alonso, not to mention the championship, will be decided.