In a narrative that has defined the last three Formula 1® seasons, the ongoing sage and title race between Mercedes’ teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton will once again go down to the wire.
In a season where momentum swings between the two has been the main narrative, with Rosberg winning the opening four races, before Hamilton responding with six wins out of seven, just eight points separate the pair with six races remaining.
Though world champion in 2014 and 2015, it appears Briton Lewis Hamilton is now doing the chasing. After a phenomenal performance by Rosberg in Singapore, Mercedes’ team chief Toto Wolff claimed he has never seen the German drive so well. Since the summer break, Hamilton’s mid-season form appears to have disappeared, with his teammate retaking control.
Here, we examine how things stand heading into the final straight of the season.
Who holds the advantage?
Nico Rosberg. Though just a minimal eight points ahead of Hamilton, four wins from the opening four races set him up nicely. Hamilton rebounded, winning six from seven, before Rosberg winning three-in-a-row at Belgium, Italy and Singapore.
What’s happened to Hamilton?
Starting from the back of the grid in Belgium due to engine penalties, he stormed through the field to collect points; A bad start in Italy allowed Rosberg to sail to a comfortable victory, before simply not having the pace to live with him in Singapore.
Is it just a two-horse race?
Yes, and no. Though Mercedes have won but all of this season’s races, Max Verstappen and Red Bull proved in Spain they have the speed to live with them. In that race though, Hamilton and Rosberg took each other out on the opening lap. Interestingly, there have been just four Mercedes’ one-two finishes. In Austria, Hamilton passed Rosberg on the final lap, while in Canada the German lost out after being forced wide. Perhaps the only thing that will beat the Mercedes’ duo is themselves.
A rising Rosberg tide or Hamilton to come good?
History, speed and form from this position would suggest Lewis Hamilton, despite his points disadvantage. Nevertheless, this is not unchartered water for Rosberg, having held a lead of 22 points over Hamilton in 2014 before collapsing to win just one of the last six races as the Brit clean-sweept the rest.
If the German is to beat Hamilton, he will not get a better opportunity than the one which faces him right now. This is a race though which will go right down to the very last lap.
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