Sao Paulo, Brazil - The titles are won and the pressure is off but the Formula One season could yet have a sting in the tail for four-times world champion Lewis Hamilton and triumphant Mercedes.
Resurgent Red Bull believes it can win the final two races, in Brazil this weekend and Abu Dhabi at the end of November, while Ferrari is also eager to wrap up 2017 with a flourish.
"The last four races we’ve had the quickest car on a Sunday," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner after Max Verstappen won in Mexico and Hamilton finished ninth to take the title. "Hopefully Brazil can be a good track for us and why not in Abu Dhabi?
"It will be great to finish the season with at least one more victory."
Verstappen excelled in the wet at Sao Paulo's atmospheric Interlagos circuit in 2016, when his performance in racing from 16th to third in 15 laps drew comparisons with some of the greats.
Hoping for rain
The Dutch 20-year-old has now won two of the past four races, after a run of poor reliability, while Red Bull has scored more points than second-placed Ferrari since the end of the August break.
Verstappen said: "As you would expect, I’m hoping for another damp race weekend as I don’t think we can be as competitive there in the dry, especially with the elevation changes on the straight,"
Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, also a winner this season in Azerbaijan, was hopeful even though the circuit is not one of his favourites.
Hamilton has won nine times in 2017, including five of the past seven, and can still equal the career best of 11 in a season he achieved in 2014. He took both the pole and victory at Interlagos in 2016.
Finnish team-mate Valtteri Bottas is third overall and only 15 points behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, a four-times winner in 2017, with Mercedes determined to finish one-two for the fourth consecutive season.
Hone farewell for Massa
"Now the pressure is kind of off, we can go and enjoy these next couple of races," said Hamilton after Mexico. "I think it’s important that we focus exactly as we have and continue to race as we have.
"This is not an opportunity for us to take our eye off the ball," added the Briton, who was planning on visiting the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru with friends in between the Latin American races.
"The pressure is off so we should be able to perform better than we ever have and I believe we can."
Sunday will also be a home farewell for Brazilian Felipe Massa, who will be leaving Williams and Formula One at the end of the season. He made an emotional exit in 2016 only to return when Bottas moved to Mercedes from Williams to replace retired 2016 champion Nico Rosberg.
The former Ferrari driver, who missed out on the 2008 title to Hamilton by a single pointm said: "I take so many great memories with me as I prepare for my final two races. Although they will be emotional, I am looking forward to ending on a high note and preparing for a new chapter in my career."Reuters