Formula One: Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is taking a relaxed approach to Sunday's US grand prix and hopes that his extensive experience in title battles will see him through.
The Spaniard sits 10 points behind reigning two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ standings and knows that if the Red Bull driver scores 15 points more than him at the Circuit of the Americas, the title race will be over.
But despite watching the German win four of the last five races, Alonso is looking forward to the challenge.
He said: “I’m much more relaxed, much more focused. In 2006, in fighting with Michael (Schumacher) in the last race in Brazil, it was quite a stressful, intense weekend. It was not easy to focus, sleep, or things like that because it was emotional.
“The year after, in 2007, it was also a very stressful last race in fighting Lewis (Hamilton) and Kimi (Raikkonen). In 2010, we arrived in Abu Dhabi and I was more calm, more confident and things were very good for us in terms of preparation, approach.
“But the race (losing out to Vettel) was what it was. We did not win at the end.
He added: “Now, for these last two races, I feel normal.
“This is the fourth time I’m fighting for the world championship, with the hope it will go to the last race.”
For his part, Vettel is set to compete in his 100th grand prix on Sunday as Formula One makes its 10th attempt to crack the United States.
After a five-year absence the sport returns to the US at the new purpose-built £250 million track and Vettel revealed his excitement at the prospect of winning his third world title.
“I think it would be incredible,” he said.
“It’s been a very long year, a tough season — up and down I think for everyone. “
Meanwhile Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has reacted to speculation about Lewis Hamilton’s move to his team next term by declaring his faith that the Briton will be fully committed.
McLaren counterpart Martin Whitmarsh last week suggested Hamilton had started to regret his switch to Mercedes after signing a £45 million, three-year contract.
But Brawn is convinced that Hamilton will not look back once making the move.
He said: “Lewis is at the perfect stage of his career where, after being at McLaren a long time, this is the next challenge for him.”