Felipe Massa described his fifth place in Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying as being as satisfying as a pole position, feeling he produced a "perfect" performance.
The Ferrari driver qualified fifth, three places ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso.
"It was a great lap, a great performance," said Massa.
"I think it was a perfect qualifying today. I think I'm driving in the direction I want and I think when you are like that you can be very competitive.
"Looking at the pace of the Red Bulls and McLarens, I don't think anything better was possible today. I'm happy with the car and I'm happy with how I put the lap together."
He added: "Even if I'm not starting from pole position, I think it's like a pole position because I did such a fantastic lap and I hope I can do a similar job tomorrow in front of my people."
Last weekend at Austin, Massa was given a deliberate gearbox change penalty to benefit Alonso. Asked if this might happen again at Interlagos, Massa joked: "If this happens I will race with the gearbox broken..."
Massa is starting one place behind Alonso's championship rival Sebastian Vettel.
While underlining that he would not be trying anything unfair, he said Vettel had cause to feel anxious going into the race.
"This is the final. The final is always like that," Massa said.
"You always try everything you can, but you need to be very cautious as well because the other cars have nothing to lose. You always try to fight for the position like it is a normal race."
VETTEL WINS THE TITLE IF:
- He finishes in the top four
- He finishes fifth, sixth or seventh and Alonso doesn't win
- He finishes eighth or ninth and Alonso is third or lower
- He finishes 10th or worse and Alonso isn't on the podium
ALONSO WINS THE TITLE IF:
- He wins and Vettel is fifth or lower
- He is second and Vettel eighth or lower
- He is third and Vettel is 10th or lower