Lewis Hamilton has vowed to end his McLaren career on a high note as he chases the victory in Brazil
After six years season with McLaren, which yielded one Drivers’ Championship, 49 podiums and 21 race victories, Hamilton is bidding farewell to his boyhood team.
This weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, the venue where he wrapped up his 2008 World title, will play host to his McLaren swansong.
And the Brit is determined not to leave on a whimper but rather with a bang.
“Brazil has been the scene of some epic races for me during my time at McLaren and, for many reasons, this weekend will be a very big race for me,” said Hamilton.
“I nearly won the title here in 2007, clinched it on the final turn in ‘08 and drove like crazy to finish on the podium in ‘09. But I’ve never won: and that’s what I’ll be aiming to do this time around.
“As my final race behind the wheel of a McLaren, I vow to the whole team that I’ll give it my all on every single lap.
“My win in Austin last week was one of the races of my life, and I’d love to take victory in Brazil this weekend to give the team the perfect farewell present.”
But while Hamilton has his reasons for wanting the victory, the bigger picture this weekend relates to the Drivers’ Championship.
Sebastian Vettel arrives at the showdown against Fernando Alonso with a 13-point advantage. But whoever wins, Hamilton says both rivals have been “superb” this season.
“Finally, a word on the Championship: it’s a very finely poised battle, and neither Sebastian nor Fernando can afford to relax for a moment.
“They are both fantastic drivers, and both have driven superbly all season. Now, we’ll see who takes the final honours - I hope it’s an epic contest.”
Meanwhile, McLaren’s technical directo Paddy Lowe says the team will miss Hamilton next season - both as a driver and a person.
“Of course miss Lewis great deal,” the technical director said Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in.
“He is a fantastic driver and a fantastic guy, and we have been through lot of history together.
“Personally I have worked with him since 2007 but that’s been six years of fantastic racing and great successes - and some tough times as well.
“He is the most fantastic driver. We will all miss him.
“We wish him the best for the future and we will look forward after Brazil to next year.
“Things change in the world, that’s how life is but we look forward to a great season next year when Sergio [Perez] arrives and there’s great promise there.”