Schumacher pragmatic over Suzuka chances

Hot title favourite Michael Schumacher is refusing to dream of world championship glory in Sunday's crucial Japanese Grand Prix, because he says he knows his hopes could easily be shattered

Schumacher pragmatic over Suzuka chances

The Ferrari ace has an eight point lead heading into the penultimate round of the Formula 1 World Championship and can afford to finish second to McLaren's Mika Hakkinen twice and still become champion. But he said the Finn's unexpected retirement in Indianapolis was a lesson in how easily things can change.

With that in mind, Schumacher arrived in Suzuka on Thursday admitting he is aiming to deliver the killer blow this weekend if he can.

"I'd rather finish things here rather than in Malaysia," he said. "Victory is needed to win the championship and that is all we are going for.

"I've got eight points and it's a nice cushion, but I'm not thinking like that," he added. "There's no point. You never know what will happen in the last race. I'll try my best here - if he brakes three metres later I'll brake five metres later.

"It's racing and anything can happen. I'm not stupid enough to believe I have the title until it's really done. Therefore we have to fight to the end. There is no reason to treat things differently because it is not finished yet."

The double champion said he was confident and bouyed by testing at Mugello last week, in which he set a new lap record on a circuit which is similar to Suzuka, Sunday's stage for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Schumacher has 88 points and Hakkinen 80. Their team mates Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard, who will be expected to play a supporting role in the last two races, have 55 and 63 respectively.

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