Lewis Hamilton admits he is facing “pretty impossible odds” as he seeks to win the Formula 1 world title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.
Heading into the final race, Hamilton is 12 points behind Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, who will win the title by finishing third, even if Hamilton wins.
The Briton said: “I can’t and won’t give up. You never know what might happen – however unlikely it may seem.”
Rosberg said he would “give everything to end the season with a win”.
After finishing second to Hamilton at the last race in Brazil, German Rosberg said he did not know how he would decide to approach the season climax in Abu Dhabi.
He has been sticking to a mantra of “one race at a time” all season, but admitted he might change that for such a crucial event, at which he could win the World Championship for the first time.
However, he said: “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. Doing a good job on a grand prix weekend is always a challenge.
“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.
“The closer it gets, the more I’m feeling excited. It will be a big battle and hopefully the fans will get a great show to end the year.”
The two drivers have won nine races each so far this season, while Hamilton has 11 pole positions to Rosberg’s eight.
While Rosberg has not had a single retirement this season, or any engine problem that has affected a result, Hamilton has had much the worse of the reliability.
The Briton would be leading the championship had he not suffered an engine failure while leading in Malaysia in September, and he also had engine failures in qualifying in China and Russia early in the season that affected his points score.
But he has also not helped his own cause with poor weekends in Baku and Singapore and a series of poor starts.
Hamilton added: “I’m in a good place right now. I’m feeling super-strong in this amazing car that everyone at the factories has worked so hard to give us.
“I’ve had 31 wins in four years with this team so far, which is just crazy. I’m so thankful for the great opportunity these guys have given me. We’re continuing to make history together.
“It’s not been a perfect season and I’m faced with pretty impossible odds no matter what I do this weekend.
“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.
“And, 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.”
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said: “As a group, we now have one very important final duty this season – to give Nico and Lewis the platform they need to battle it out to the flag.
“Both of them have been exceptional and either one would make a worthy champion.
“After such a battle of endurance, the winner can say without doubt that they earned it. We are all excited to see who that will be. May the best man win.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/38051305