Rosberg, Hamilton: the Formula 1 grand title odds
Nico Rosberg may have faltered during the first sudden death decider of the Grand Prix championship, but all is not lost. As each race passes, the permutations increase – and so does the pressure.
Last time out, in Mexico, things were rather simple. Rosberg needed to win the Grand Prix and have his only title rival, Lewis Hamilton, finish 10th or lower. Neither happened.
Hamilton dominated the race weekend to claim a comfortable win, while Rosberg could only manage second place. That, though, was enough to keep Rosberg’s championship hopes alive.
Having built up a 33-point lead with his last victory in Japan, the German needed four P2s in the remaining four races to walk away with the grand title.
He is halfway there now, with runner-up results in the US and Mexico races, and with only the Brazil and Abu Dhabi races left.
He can, however, wrap things up before the end of the season.
Should Rosberg win the Brazilian GP, which would be his third successive victory at the Interlagos circuit, he will move on to having 374 points. This means that a P2 on the day for Hamilton, who would then be on 348 points, would see the championship race continue to Abu Dhabi.
However, anything lower than third for Hamilton – coupled with a Rosberg win – would ensure the German is the champion-elect.
A P2 for Rosberg in Sao Paulo would only guarantee him the title if Hamilton ends in fifth position or lower. However, should Rosberg come third, he would need Hamilton to be no higher than sixth.
Should Hamilton win the Grand Prix, the title race would be alive in Abu Dhabi, no matter where Rosberg finishes. And Hamilton could still win the eventual title.
Even if the Mercedes team-mates should leave the Interlagos circuit with Rosberg 25 points ahead, a win for the Brit and a did not finish for the German would see Hamilton take the crown by countback on third-placed finishes.
Both drivers, though, are up against Mercedes’ reliability glitches, which have cost the team-mates dearly this season.
Hamilton has had the worst of Mercedes’ reliability problems, with nine engine failures. He has also struggled with clutch issues, which saw him lose positions off the line.
As things stand, the Brit now faces the prospect of losing his world title to his team-mate, although this time around both drivers seem to be more amicable about the rivalry. In the past, the tension in the Mercedes garage has been palpable, and although team head Toto Wolff feared an eruption during the season, this has not happened.
That, though, could change in Brazil. One of the two rivals may still crack before the end of the game.
– TEAMtalk Media