A stunning victory at the Chinese Grand Prix has seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher relishing his return to one of his favourite tracks in the battle for the Formula One drivers' crown.

Schumacher, for the first time this season, moved ahead of titleholder Fernando Alonso to lead the drivers' race by the slimmest of margins with two races to go, here on Sunday and then in Brazil.

The Ferrari driver, who has won five of the last seven races at Suzuka, said: "With our win in Shanghai I'm looking forward even more to the race in Suzuka, which is anyway always one of the season highlights,

"This track is like a dream; especially the first sector. To drive that part of the track is just fabulous: the s-curves, the rhythm, just incredible."

The Suzuka circuit will host the Japanese Grand Prix for the last time before it moves to the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway.

It was at this circuit that Schumacher won his recordbreaking sixth world title in 2 003 when he pipped McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen to the championship.

Victory on Sunday, plus a failure to finish in the points for Renault ace Alonso, would give Schumacher an unprecedented eighth title before impending retirement.

Schumacher, winner of five of the last seven grands prix, said: "Rhythm is a good keyword because we definitely want to keep our level in terms of performance.

"We clearly made better work in the second part of the season, thus we deserved to equalise in the championship. Who could have imagined something like that three months ago?

"When you have a look at the team and how much ambition and fighting spirit they put into catching up, then there's nothing to wonder about."

Both drivers have 116 points, Schumacher leading by virtue of having won one race more. The German sees the remaining races as a championship shoot-out, saying: "In Suzuka, the championship almost starts from the beginning and I think that this is the ideal starting point for all motoring enthusiasts.

"We are ready for a tough and tight fight; during the last two weekends it's all about giving our best."