Preview: Alonso on the Cusp of History

Third place is all 24-year-old Spaniard Fernando Alonso needs in Brazil this weekend to take his place in history as Formula One's youngest champion

Preview: Alonso on the Cusp of History

Even then, the six points may be superfluous. Should McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen be forced to retire at Interlagos, the Drivers' Championship will be over.

The Renault racer leads his Finnish rival by 25 points, with just two Grands Prix and a maximum 20 points remaining after Sunday.

Alonso, whose calm under pressure has been impressive all season, has vowed to go for victory rather than taking a strategic approach in a race that has thrown up a few surprises over the years.

Two years ago he brought proceedings to a premature close after crashing heavily, yet despite being taken to hospital still ended up being awarded third place.

"I am quite close now to the Championship, but I approach this race like any other," said the Spaniard, winner of six of the 16 races so far.

"We have been quick in Brazil in recent years, and now our car is even stronger in every area. So I am looking forward to the race.

"As always, I go there trying to do the maximum. What's the point of going to a race and only aiming for a podium? You can't do that, you have to want to be the best, to attack. So that's what I am going to Brazil to do," he added.

Raikkonen, who has also won six times this year, knows there is only so much he can do. The Finn must do his best and leave the rest to fate.

"With only three races remaining, nothing but another win will do for me in Brazil this weekend," he said.

One-Two

McLaren will again be looking for the one-two finish that, time after time this season, has looked theirs for the taking.

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, Raikkonen's teammate, won in Brazil last year with Williams when it was the season-ending race but will be penalised with an earlier start in qualifying after crashing out of the last round in Belgium.

Despite that, the Mercedes-powered team are confident they have the performance to finish one-two and overtake Renault in the constructors' standings.

Renault, who have developments on the engine and aerodynamics, lead McLaren by six points.

If McLaren do take their first one-two for five years, Alonso must be wary of BAR's Jenson Button and Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello pushing him off the podium for the first time in four races.

Barrichello took pole last year and finished third, behind Montoya and Raikkonen, to end a run of nine Brazilian Grand Prix retirements in a row. But Ferrari are a pale shadow of their former dominance.

However the Brazilian, joining BAR next year, is still hoping for something special to mark what will be his final home appearance in a Ferrari.

"Looking at the current situation, both in theory and in practice, we do not have a car capable of delivering a win," he said. "Nevertheless I will face the weekend in a positive frame of mind as you never know what might happen."

"I would love to do well in Brazil. That is my main target for this end of the season."

Three Brazilians will be racing on Sunday, with Antonio Pizzonia joining Barrichello and Sauber's Felipe Massa as a stand-in for injured German Nick Heidfeld at Williams.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Author Alan Baldwin
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