The only way Lewis can win

Mercedes star duo set for ti­tle de­cider at the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

It is lit­tle won­der that in re­cent days there has been a per­ma­nent smile on the face of Nico Ros­berg. For much of the last three years the Ger­man has been forced to play sec­ond fid­dle to Lewis Hamil­ton as Mercedes have dom­i­nated the rest of the F1 field.

But fi­nally the 31-year-old is set to have his mo­ment as even a third place fin­ish and a Hamil­ton vic­tory would see Ros­berg win his first world ti­tle.

Just days ago Ros­berg spoke of his “grow­ing con­fi­dence” as he edges near to the fi­nal race of the sea­son. And why not, Yas Ma­rina Cir­cuit may well pro­vide a vis­ually stun­ning back­drop but the track it­self is un­re­mark­able.

“The first few turns are quite good, but the rest of it is rub­bish,” was the as­sess­ment of Kimi Raikko­nen when he first ex­pe­ri­enced the track in 2009.

Cer­tainly the Abu Dhabi race seems best suited for the sheer pace of Mercedes and it is un­likely Ros­berg and Hamil­ton will be chal­lenged by the other teams.

There­fore Hamil­ton may well have to rely on car trou­bles for Ros­berg, which has not hap­pened at all this sea­son, or hope his team­mates chances are de­railed by another driver. Even Jen­son But­ton joked that the only way Hamil­ton is likely to win a fourth world ti­tle would be if some­one runs Ros­berg off the track. “Well, un­less one of us crashes into him. I mean, Lewis is very rich and has a lot of money, flies around in a pri­vate jet, so I’m sure he can af­ford to pay me,” said Hamil­ton’s fel­low Brit. “The only pos­si­bil­ity, how­ever, would be when Nico laps me be­cause we’re not fast enough. Any­way, I’m open to of­fers. And any­way, I’m re­tir­ing… sorry, tak­ing a sab­bat­i­cal.” It cer­tainly makes for grim read­ing for Hamil­ton who him­self has played down his chances of mirac­u­lously de­fend­ing his world ti­tle. “It’s not been a per­fect sea­son and I’m faced with pretty im­pos­si­ble odds no mat­ter what I do this week­end,” was the as­sess­ment of Hamil­ton. Cer­tainly it seems as though the race in Abu Dhabi could be­come a two-hour vic­tory pa­rade for Ros­berg. The Ger­man will not take any­thing for granted and will want to fin­ish the sea­son in style, but the ti­tle is in his hands. Hav­ing ex­celled through­out the sea­son it would be fit­ting for Ros­berg to be flanked by fire­works once again in the UAE cap­i­tal, this time cel­e­brat­ing a world ti­tle tri­umph.

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