Darkness is falling over the main stand as I write this. It’s been an interesting Thursday, devoid of the kind of tension we’ve experienced in the past at title showdowns. It has nothing of the atmosphere of Jerez 97 or Suzuka 98, for example. I’ve seen both title contenders in the flesh and they both look remarkably relaxed. The tension will start to kick in tomorrow. Massa has every right to feel relaxed in many ways, it’s out of his hands and he has nothing to lose. He will go for the win and hope misfortune revisits Hamilton.
Hamilton has to stay out of trouble and he’ll be champion and that’s what most of the other drivers here feel will happen. I was at a press briefing with Alonso just after lunch at which he said he had ‘great respect for Hamilton’ and that they speak to each other regularly, but added a postscript that he would always prefer a team other than McLaren to win. He felt that Hamilton would close the title out on Sunday without too much trouble.
The wind is getting up, blowing the flags on top of the stands and bringing with it a squally rain shower. We have plenty of these forecast for the weekend. Will they play a significant role in the outcome?
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali was his usual smiling self this afternoon. He said that the team had fully analysed its poor performance in China and that, just like Hockenheim, it was all about not getting the best out of the tyres. He said that it will not happen again this weekend. We will see when the cars run tomorrow.