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Hamilton expects ‘tough’ weekend

Lewis Hamilton expects a "tough weekend" at the Japanese Grand Prix when he aims to boost his own and his team's leads in the Formula One standings.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2008 00:49 IST

Lewis Hamilton expects a "tough weekend" at the Japanese Grand Prix when he aims to boost his own and his team's leads in the Formula One standings.

"I hope we'll have just as competitive a weekend as we did here last year and I'm sure we'll be strong," Hamilton said in Tokyo on Wednesday ahead of Sunday's race at Fuji Speedway.

"But it'll be a tough weekend for all of us and we'll just have to keep on pushing," added the 23-year-old Englishman who has a seven-point lead over Ferrari ace Felipe Massa at 84-77 with three races remaining in the season. In the constructors standings, McLaren also lead defending champions Ferrari by the slimmest possible margin of 135-134. In fog and rain, Hamilton won the race here last year with Heikki Kovalainen, then with Renault, finishing second and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen third. Kovalainen is second driver at McLaren this year.

Massa declared at the same media event, "I'm looking forward to having a strong weekend and really trying to win the race." "We're still seven points behind but we still have 30 points in front of us," said the 27-year-old Brazilian. A Grand Prix win is worth 10 points.

"For sure, we're gonna do the best we can to fight until the last lap of the race. I think we still have a big possibility in front of us and we will not give up for sure." Raikkonen, another Ferrari driver and 2007 world champion, vowed to help the team overtake McLaren although he stands in fourth place with 57 points in the drivers championship.

"For myself, it's more or less over," admitted the 28-year-old Finn. "But we still need the championship for the team. We'll try to get that one this year again."

Tyres go green

Formula One cars will use green-grooved tyres at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix to promote a campaign by the sport's governing body to reduce the impact of motoring on the environment.

"We hope the launch of the 'Make Cars Green' tyre will draw public attention to the many environmental initiatives," said Bridgestone chief executive Shoshi Arakawa.