Lewis Hamilton has acknowledged that title rival Felipe Massa will have the overwhelming backing of his home country’s fans in the Brazilian Grand Prix but hopes "that the local crowds will have it in their hearts to support me as a sportsman too".
The season’s end Brazilian race will decide who is crowned Formula One champ, meaning that there will be even more of a carnival atmosphere at the event, especially as Massa is the only driver who can thwart Hamilton’s dream.
The young Brit told his website that he was surprised and gratified by the level of support he has received in places outside Europe "like Singapore, Japan and China".
The 23-year-old can expect the South American racing fans to be a little more partisan but he revealed that he has a love for Brazil despite having an unhappy race there last season.
He said: "I love the Brazilian people – I love their enthusiasm for life and for motorsport in general.
"When I was growing up, my favourite driver was Ayrton Senna – in fact, he’s still my all-time hero – and to get to drive at his home circuit in a Formula One car was just an amazing feeling."
Written by James Christie