Lewis Hamilton insists he will fight championship rival Nico Rosberg until the “bitter end” as the British driver bids to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in Formula One history.
Consecutive victories for Hamilton in America and Mexico have enabled the British-born racer to close the gap to his Mercedes team-mate to 19 points.
But with only two races remaining, starting with the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, the title tussle remains firmly in Rosberg’s hands.
Hamilton is reliant on Rosberg finishing at least one of the penultimate rounds in fourth or lower. The German could even be crowned champion in Brazil if he wins for a third consecutive time at the Interlagos track.
But a defiant Hamilton, who won so convincingly in Austin and Mexico City, has not given up hope on defending his title.
“It’s a great feeling when you’re able to show the kind of pace I’ve shown at the past two races,” Hamilton, 31, said.
“Everyone has worked so hard and the car has really been faultless.
“In terms of the championship, it’s an unusual scenario to be in – fighting for something and not knowing for sure that what you do will guarantee you’re able to make it. One outcome would be painful and the other would be a great achievement. Regardless, I’m going to keep pushing.
“Since the beginning of my Formula One career I’ve seen that everything can change even at the very last moment, so you have to fight to the bitter end.”
Interlagos remains one of very few circuits on the grand prix calendar that Hamilton, who moved alongside Alain Prost into second on the all-time winners’ list following his 51st career win in Mexico, is yet to conquer.
In contrast, Rosberg won in Brazil last year and also held off the challenge of his Mercedes team-mate to triumph in 2014.
“I’ve got good form in Sao Paulo, and it’s one of the real classic tracks, which usually produce some exciting races,” said Rosberg, who needs to finish second and third at the final two grands prix to clinch the title.
“There are still two races to go and anything can happen in this sport, so I need to focus my energy on the factors that I have in my control.
“I’m looking forward to getting out there and having a big battle in front of those awesome Brazilian fans.”