Lewis Hamilton has vowed to hold nothing back in next week's Japanese Grand Prix as he bids to get his World Championship ambitions back on track.
The McLaren driver has failed to score in the last two races, following crashes in Italy and Singapore, and needs a good result in Suzuka to close down the 20-points deficit to series leader Mark Webber. But rather than feel he needs to take things easy to serve his ambitions, Hamilton is viewing the weekend with some aggression – and wants to give it everything to take his first victory at the track.
"Suzuka is very much unfinished business for me," said Hamilton. "I raced the best I could last year, but our car just wasn't fast enough. This year, I'm holding nothing back – I need a strong result to get my title hopes back on track, and that will be my complete focus from the moment I first sit in the cockpit on Friday morning. Now is not the time to hold back; now is the time to fight."
Teammate Jenson Button also needs to close down the gap in Japan and, although 25 points adrift of Webber, he is confident about his own title ambitions.
"I've had some great results at Suzuka, but I've never won in Japan," he said. "I think it's a circuit that suits my style – it's all about scrubbing off as little speed as possible through the corners and maintaining a very smooth and precise rhythm: get it wrong and you're usually scrabbling to regain your momentum for several more corners. It's a punishing place.
"I think the World Championship is still completely open: obviously, there's no room for mistakes, but any of the top five drivers could easily steal the title. It might seem a disadvantage to be behind in the point standings, but, make no mistake, I know I can win this championship. I'm still as determined as ever to keep the number one on my car for 2011."
Hamilton and Button's boss Martin Whitmarsh believes the setbacks of recent races will spur his team to raise its game for Japan.
"We have worked with unstinting focus and dedication throughout this whole season. And our current positions in both the drivers' and constructors' World Championships are just the spur we need to raise our game and attack these final four races of the season with real vigor.
"Of course, any team would tell you that it deserves to have scored more points this season, but we've been unusually unfortunate recently. As an organization, of course, we don't rely on luck – but I'm optimistic in thinking that our fortunes are due a change, and that we can all raise our game as we head into these final four races.
"Perhaps our recent misfortunes are exactly what's needed to strengthen our approach and further narrow our focus. We are on the attack: we know all about taking the fight to the end, and I know I can rely on every single individual within this organization to make sure we're hitting with absolutely everything we have until the very end of the season."