Ros­berg and Hamil­ton in fi­nal show­down for F1 ti­tle

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

NICO ROS­BERG (car­i­ca­ture) aims to cap an all but trou­ble-free For­mula One sea­son with his first world ti­tle on Sun­day in a fi­nal show­down with Mercedes team­mate Lewis Hamil­ton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Ger­man Ros­berg takes a 12-point lead over the three-time cham­pion Hamil­ton into the day-into-night race on the 5.554km Yas Ma­rina Course, know­ing a podium fin­ish will make him em­u­late his fa­ther Keke Ros­berg who won the F1 tro­phy in 1982 – re­gard­less if Hamil­ton wins.

Ros­berg comes to Abu Dhabi af­ter hav­ing spent some days with his fam­ily and friends, and will not change the ap­proach he has used all sea­son, treat­ing the fi­nale of the 21-race sea­son “like any other race.”

“I will give it ev­ery­thing to end the sea­son with a win,” Ros­berg said. “I have great mem­o­ries from win­ning at this track last year and it’s some­where I’ve usu­ally been strong in the past, so I have ev­ery rea­son to feel con­fi­dent.

“The closer it gets, the more I’m feel­ing ex­cited. It will be a big bat­tle and hope­fully the fans will get a great show to end the year.”

Ros­berg had al­ready lost the 2015 ti­tle race when he won in Abu Dhabi 12 months ago, and was with­out a chance with en­gine prob­lems in the 2014 cham­pi­onship which Hamil­ton had en­tered 17 points ahead of him and clinched with a vic­tory.

Ros­berg fin­ished 14th in that race, and Ham- il­ton would need a sim­i­lar sce­nario this time around as a vic­tory alone is not good enough for the Bri­ton af­ter a few set­backs this sea­son, most no­tably when his en­gine blew while he was lead­ing the Malaysian race last month.

“It’s not been a per­fect sea­son and I’m faced with pretty im­pos­si­ble odds no mat­ter what I do this week­end,” he said.

“But I can’t and won’t give up. You never know what might hap­pen - how­ever un­likely it may seem.”

Apart from his 2014 suc­cess Hamil­ton has seen both sides of a sea­son fi­nale in his 10 sea­sons in the sport. He lost the 2007 ti­tle by one point against Kimi Raikko­nen and there was even more drama the fol­low­ing year when he edged Felipe Massa by one point by snatch­ing the re­quired fifth-place fin­ish in the very last lap of the last race in Brazil.

Ros­berg has had less is­sues with the car than Hamil­ton and been rock solid and fo­cussed in al­most ev­ery race in the sea­son he started with four straight vic­to­ries. And he did what he had to do in the last three races, com­ing sec­ond be­hind Hamil­ton to have his fate in his own hands.

The very last thing the team and the driv­ers now want is that a me­chan­i­cal prob­lem de­cides the ti­tle race, as Mercedes of­fi­cials have vowed they will do ev­ery­thing to pro­vide their driv­ers with the best cars to fight it out over the 55 laps. “We will ap­proach this week­end as we would any other, with the pri­mary ob­jec­tive of en­sur­ing that the ti­tle is de­cided on track in a fair fight,” tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Paddy Lowe said. Mercedes mo­tor­sport chief Toto Wolff said: “As a group we now have one very im­por­tant fi­nal duty this sea­son – to give Nico and Lewis the plat­form they need to bat­tle it out to the flag.” “May the best man win,” Wolff added, say­ing: “Both of them have been ex­cep­tional and either one would make a wor­thy cham­pion.” The race week­end, which starts with prac­tice to­mor­row and has qual­i­fy­ing to­mor­row, also marks the end of Massa’s ca­reer high­lighted by the run­ner-up cham­pi­onship fin­ish eight years ago. It’s go­ing to be an­other emo­tional one!” the Brazil­ian Wil­liams driver said. “I re­ally hope the fi­nal, and 250th race of my For­mula One ca­reer, can be a fan­tas­tic one. We will of course have a big party! Hope­fully we can cel­e­brate with a great re­sult.” – dpa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.