Lewis Hamilton has admitted the odds are firmly stacked against him as he bids to complete the “impossible” dream and win the Formula One world championship on Sunday.
Hamilton, winner of the last three races - including a spectacular display at the recent rain-soaked Brazilian Grand Prix - will head to Abu Dhabi for the so-called ‘Duel in the Desert’ 12 points adrift of Nico Rosberg.
The 31-year-old Briton knows that even if he wins on Sunday, his Mercedes team-mate needs to secure only a top-three finish to clinch his maiden championship, and stop Hamilton from becoming the first British driver in grand prix racing history to win four titles.
Hamilton has been in scintillating form in recent races - crushing Rosberg in the United States and Mexico double header before delivering a wet-weather masterclass at Interlagos last time out - but following a number of reliability issues and sloppy starts this year, Hamilton is well aware that Rosberg holds the aces ahead of the season finale.
“It’s not been a perfect season and I’m faced with pretty impossible odds no matter what I do this weekend,” said Hamilton, who will end the year with more victories and pole positions than Rosberg should he triumph in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
“I can’t and won’t give up. You never know what might happen - however unlikely it may seem.
“I’ll be proud of myself and what I’ve achieved as long as I feel I’ve given my all and performed at my best. Whatever happens, I’m proud of everyone who’s been a part of the success we’ve shared over the past few years.
“I’m approaching this weekend the same as I do every race. I want to win and I’ll give it everything to finish the season on a high.
Rosberg, whose father Keke won the Formula One world title 34 years ago, is poised to become only the second son of a champion to win motor racing’s biggest prize.
The German, who won in Abu Dhabi last year, has raised his game this season, but following a run of three second-place finishes, is keen to clinch the title with a victory.
“I will give it everything to end the season with a win,” Rosberg said. “I’ve had a great week, relaxing and catching up with my family and friends, so I feel like I’m in a good place.
“In Brazil, after the race, I was joking that I would still be taking things one race at a time, but the more I think about it, the more that’s actually not as crazy as it sounds. I have to treat this like any other race.
“Nothing in this sport is easy, so this won’t be any different and I still have to go all out for a good result. I have great memories from winning at this track last year and it’s somewhere I’ve usually been strong in the past, so I have every reason to feel confident.”