Formula 1 fans will be looking forward to an exciting weekend of racing, as the drivers prepare to line up on the grid for the season’s final race, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Whatever happens at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday, a Mercedes driver will become the 2016 F1 World Champion – but how close a battle is it, and what do Hamilton and Rosberg have to do to secure the title?
Hamilton vs Rosberg – Lewis Keeps the Pressure Up in Brazil
Two weeks ago, Lewis Hamilton conquered the rain-soaked Autódromo José Carlos Pace track to win the Brazilian Grand Prix for the first time in his career. In the process, he set the stage for a thrilling season finale in the form of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. His teammate, Nico Rosberg, had to be satisfied with second place and the knowledge that he still has a twelve-point championship lead.
Despite the fact that the race was red-flagged twice and the safety car was called into action on five occasions, Hamilton managed to capitalise on his pole position and made driving in the poor conditions look almost simple.
The most impressive driver of the race, however, was surely Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. The nineteen-year-old Dutchman managed to push Rosberg into third place for a while but, following a tyre strategy decision that didn’t work out, found himself at the back of the pack. He faced the challenge head-on, however, and demonstrated exceptional speed and breath-taking overtaking skills. He made up thirteen positions in just sixteen laps to claim the final podium place in spectacular style.
The Final Showdown – The 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Had Rosberg managed to seize first place in Brazil, the 2016 driver’s championship title – and the glittering motorsports trophy that he has been dreaming of raising aloft for so long – would already be his. However, his loss at Interlagos was Formula 1 fans’ gain, as the prospect of a fight to the finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a thrilling one.
The odds of Rosberg winning the championship are still firmly in his favour though, and stealing the title will be a tough job for his rival. While there’s no doubt that Lewis Hamilton is currently in stunning form, nothing less than a race win at the Yas Marina Circuit will do for the British driver if Rosberg manages to make it onto the podium as well.
According to the BBC, if Hamilton finishes in second place, Rosberg would need to finish in seventh place (or lower) in order to miss out. If Hamilton only manages to cross the line in third position, he won’t become World Champion unless Rosberg finishes in ninth place or below.
The BBC’s F1 analyst, Allan McNish, a former Formula One driver himself, believes that Hamilton could cause a last-minute upset, however.
“Hamilton will go all out for the race win, and I think he will do it,” he said.
Earlier this week, Lewis told the press that he was facing “pretty impossible odds” but wouldn’t give up. “You never know what might happen – however unlikely it may seem.”
“The closer it gets, the more I’m feeling excited,” he added. “It will be a big battle and hopefully the fans will get a great show to end the year.”
Are you planning to watch the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix? Will you be backing Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg to become the 2016 Formula One World Champion? Add a comment, or tell us on Facebook or Twitter.