SAO PAULO: Lewis Hamilton vowed Thursday to try harder than ever to end his Interlagos winless run and keep his faint title hopes alive in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The defending three-time world champion, who is 19 points adrift of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with two races remaining, has been involved in several dramatic finishes in Brazil.
The stakes are high as he has to beat Rosberg to retain his title dream.
He lost out in his world title quest as a rookie in the 2007 showdown when Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari lifted the crown, but returned the following year to finish fifth and clinch his maiden championship.
Apart from Brazil, the only other current race the 31-year-old Briton has never won is the European Grand Prix.
“I really don’t know why I’ve never won here,” he told a news conference at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on Thursday. “I have always tried very hard to win!
“So I will be trying even harder this year.”
A smiling Hamilton appeared to be utterly at ease during the news session at the circuit where he and German Rosberg flanked retirement-bound home hero Felipe Massa, of Williams.
Rosberg looked slightly more serious, but was showing no signs of tension as he approached his first title showdown race as favourite to lift the crown. He will be champion if he wins on Sunday.
“I am looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m feeling good and I am excited by it. I will be going out to win. I have good memories from the last two years, but I am aware that we all start from zero.”
Rosberg won the Brazil race in 2014 and 2015 and could complete a hat-trick of victories to seize the title.
“I love this track and I always seem to manage to go well here,” he added.
Their Mercedes team has promised them equal machinery, cars, engines and support for both of the two season-ending races.
But they cannot expect any favours from their rivals.
The two Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Dutch teenager Max Verstappen, separated by Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, made clear they will be racing hard, and without favour.
“Same approach as usual,” said Verstappen, 19. “If there is a chance, we try to win.”
Rain has been forecast for Sunday and is likely to play a part in the outcome.