The way I see it, Lewis Hamilton travels to Brazil this year in a very different frame of mind from last year, much lighter in spirit, more focussed and with a much better understanding of what it takes to close this championship out.
The most significant difference though is that he does not have to worry about Fernando Alonso in the sister car. It was the Spaniard last year who dominated Hamilton’s thoughts at the finale after a season of bitterness and recrimination. Alonso felt that he could have won the title if McLaren had just restrained Hamilton a bit, and he’s right. Going into that last race, Hamilton was four points ahead of Alonso and seven up on Raikkonen, who went on to win in Brazil. Hamilton wasn’t really thinking about him and yet he emerged the champion.
This year Hamilton’s mind is clear and focussed on Felipe Massa only; he knows that he will have a harmonious and serene atmosphere in his team all weekend, despite Kovalainen’s alleged complaint about being disadvantaged with heavy fuel in qualifying, and that he can focus all his attention simply on having a strong race, as he did in China.