Lewis Hamilton is praying for “a straightforward weekend” in Brazil next week as he aims to become the youngest champion in Formula One history.
A year ago, when Hamilton had the title in his sights at Interlagos, his race weekend was anything but simple and clear cut.
McLaren had an FIA observer stationed in their pit garage to ensure fair play was administered to Hamilton and then team-mate Fernando Alonso following the Spaniard’s dramatic fall-out.
On race day, an understandably tense-looking Hamilton endured a miserable opening lap, running wide at one point to drop to eighth after starting second on the grid.
More agony followed on lap eight when he suffered a gearbox issue that relegated him to 18th, and despite a brave charge through the field, he could only finish seventh.
Hamilton missed out on the title by a point that day, so you can appreciate his sentiment that he would like to avoid such drama a year on.
With Hamilton seven points clear of his only title rival in Felipe Massa in his Ferrari, the 23-year-old simply has to finish in the top five to take his place in F1 history.
“Fundamentally, I’ll approach this race the same way I’ve approached the previous races,” assessed Hamilton.
“Obviously, my aim for Brazil is slightly different from the other grands prix because 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.
“The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai was a good example of that as 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.”
But given the pressure of the situation again, Hamilton readily concedes he can “take absolutely nothing for granted”.
“In terms of preparation, I have to look at things realistically and appreciate I have another weekend of maximum effort ahead of me with the team,” added Hamilton.
“I still need to pull together a strong qualifying lap, be competitive during the race and avoid failing to finish.
“I know just how this sport works sometimes, so I’d be foolish to go to Brazil feeling over-confident.”