Lewis Hamilton heads to the season-ending Brazilian GP on a high after proving that he "still holds that drive".
Although his hopes of winning a second title have been over for a quite a while now, Hamilton put in a master class at the inaugural United States GP on Sunday as he came from second on the grid to beat pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel to the win.
The victory, which will no doubt go down as one of his best displays in F1, was his fourth of the season and Hamilton feels he showed that he should be seen in the same light as the other top drivers.
"I think I stamped my mark on the sport and showed I have the status that the others do," he said. "Even though I am not competing for first or second in the Championship I still hold that drive. I just beat the supposed best.
"I think I have been driving at my best all year, getting stronger and stronger and this was my strongest performance of the year.
"To be able to push and not make mistakes and to hunt Sebastian down and see him make the mistakes is a great feeling.
"They say you are only as good as your last race. It would be nice to be battling for the Championship but that is the way that it is, so I have to be grateful for where I am and what we have achieved.
"We would have had a lot more wins but for the problems we have had. But this makes the rest disappear and allows us to move forward and smile."
This weekend's race at Interlagos will Hamilton's last for a McLaren as he is off to Mercedes next year.
"Regardless of what happens, I am leaving on a high," he said.
Any reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of 365 Media Group is strictly forbidden.