With just four races to go in the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship, things are looking good for Nico Rosberg. He’s leading his main rival, Lewis Hamilton, by 33 points going into this weekend’s United States Grand Prix – but will his winning form continue or can his teammate fight back to win a fourth title?
The 2016 Formula 1 World Championship – A Tale of Two Silver Arrows
This year’s championship has been dominated by Mercedes again and, in Japan, the team effectively secured their third back-to-back constructors’ trophy win. With their closest competitor, Daniel Ricciardo, on 212 points (68 fewer than Lewis and 101 fewer than Nico), it’s now certain that it will be a Mercedes team member receiving the driver’s championship award. The only question remaining is which driver it will be.
While Rosberg started the season off well with four consecutive wins, Hamilton fought back and eventually gained the championship lead. His winning streak ended in Belgium, however, when Rosberg took advantage of his teammate’s back row starting position to take the win.
Further wins in Italy, Singapore and Japan, and a third place finish in Malaysia, boosted Rosberg’s points tally, while Lewis was stunned by his lack of good fortune after his car developed a performance-damaging hydraulics fault in practice in Singapore and engine failure during the race in Sepang.
“I just can’t believe that there’s eight Mercedes cars and only my engines are the ones that have gone this way,” he told Sky after the Malaysian Grand Prix. “It was a brand new engine. It’s just odd.”
The United States Grand Prix – Can Hamilton Advance in the USA?
Earlier this week, Lewis Hamilton told the press that he would be pulling out all the stops in the final races in a last minute push for the title.
“It’s just about hitting every race weekend as hard as I can, going all out for every win and seeing what happens from there,” he said. “I’ll be holding nothing back out there.”
With 100 points left to compete for, he could still make up the difference and beat Nico to the title, adding yet another driver’s championship award to his extensive collection of motorsports trophies. It won’t be an easy thing to achieve; even if Hamilton tops the podium in each of the remaining races, Nico would still triumph if he could finish second every time.
However, as former F1 driver, Allan McNish pointed out this week, Hamilton has already completed a similar feat this season: “…in the four races from Monaco to Austria, he reduced a 43-point deficit to an 11-point one. That’s 32 points, only one short of what he needs to do now”.
What’s more, the United States Grand Prix is one of Lewis’s favourite races of the season and, since the race returned to the Formula 1 calendar in 2012 at a new venue, Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, he has won it three out of four times.
“I love the country, the culture, the people and the track, so I can’t wait to get started,” he told the Telegraph.
Nico is in spectacular form, however, and is also the closest he has ever been to taking the title. So can he fend off Lewis to cross the line in first place in the USA? If so, it would be another nail in the coffin for Hamilton’s 2016 World Championship hopes.
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