OCTOBER 27, 2008
The World Championship permutations
Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa go to Brazil this weekend to settle the World Championship with Hamilton needing to finish only fifth in order to win the title. Hamilton could therefore settle for a solid third place behind the Ferraris and there would be little that could be done about it.
However this would not be much use for McLaren's hopes of winning the Constructors' Championship as Ferrari has an 11-point lead and that means that the Woking team needs to go all out for a 1-2 victory if it is to have any chance of winning both titles. Ferrari remains the solid favourite, however, as Ferrari would still only need third and eighth to secure the championship.
"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," says Hamilton. "Shanghai was a good example of that: we hit the ground running on Friday morning and never looked back. Our aim wasn™t to push too hard, but we found ourselves in a position at the front and took it comfortably from there. 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."
Heikki Kovalainen will also be challenging for a win as there is no reason for him to hold back and he goes into the race with a brand new engine
"I want to be able to help the team and Lewis wherever necessary," he says, "but the easiest way to do that is to be running at the front. The team knows I will play my part, but we are also targeting the Constructors™ Championship."
Other battles to watch out for will be the fight for third in the Drivers' title between Robert Kubica (75 points) and Kimi Raikkonen (69), while Nick Heidfeld should be safe in fifth place with 60 points unless Fernando Alonso pulls off another miracle for Renault. Alonso (53) needs to watch out for Heikki Kovalainen (51) while there is also going to be a fight for eighth place between Sebastian Vettel and Jarno Trulli, both of whom have 30 points. It would take a major upset for them to be caught by Timo Glock (22).
The minor placings in the Constructors' title also provide for some interest with McLaren needing to be aware that BMW Sauber is only 10 points in arrears. Renault is a safe fourth and Toyota fifth but sixth place is a fight between Scuderia Toro Rosso (34), Red Bull Racing (29) and Williams (26).