Ros­berg, Hamil­ton: the For­mula 1 grand ti­tle odds

CityPress - - Sport - MICHELLE FOS­TER sports@city­press.co.za

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

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