Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2016

Will he or won’t he? Delaying Rosberg may be Hamilton’s last resort

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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Since his championship hopes reached their lowest ebb following the Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has gone on a tear.

Four pole positions in a row and three victories so far has seen him block Nico Rosberg’s points-scoring opportunities in a manner which, for various reasons, he was seldom able to do earlier in the year.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2016
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
But as has been widely commented on since the last round, merely winning races will not be enough to make him champion. With just 55 laps of Yas Marina between him and the final chequered flag of the season the time has come for Hamilton to ask whether he is happy to let the race run its course and see if it delivers the title, or whether he will try to make life difficult for Rosberg and bring their rivals into play.

Whenever he’s been asked about it this weekend Hamilton has pointed out how difficult it would be to pull off such a feat at Yas Marina. As noted here a few weeks ago, its long DRS zones make such tactics tricky.

But the championship is hanging in the balance and pride is at stake. Very few drivers had a world title taken away from them by their team mates. Would Hamilton really not be tempted to try it if Rosberg is in his mirrors late in the race and the aggressive Red Bulls are just a few seconds behind?

Hamilton doesn’t need to stamp on the brakes at every corner to hold Rosberg up. F1 cars do not like running in the hot air of another and while Abu Dhabi’s evening race isn’t the hottest it is still very warm. By depriving Rosberg of the two second buffer drivers are usually urged to maintain, Hamilton can put his team mate’s car under greater strain and ensure Rosberg’s rivals remain in touch.

Hamilton may want to inflict pain on Rosberg by thrashing him, but doing that would ease the pressure on his team mate in the race. Furthermore, if Hamilton pulls 20 seconds clear of Rosberg and then decided he does need to hold his team mate up, Hamilton could lose too much heat from his tyres by backing off. That’s another reason to keep Rosberg at arm’s length.

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Of course before Hamilton gets to this point he first needs to get off the line successfully. That’s something he has not been able to take for granted this year. But since his last botched start at Suzuka he seems to have finally got on terms with the Mercedes’ finicky clutch.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2016
Rosberg has his best chance yet to take the title
For Rosberg, keeping his position at the start or – his dream outcome – getting down the inside of Hamilton, would do his title chances a power of good. His prospects look good thanks to Yas Marina’s comparatively short 305 metre run to turn on plus the fact his closest threat will start the race on harder tyres.

Will Red Bull’s alternative tyre strategy help them attack the Mercedes pair? This of course depends partly on Hamilton’s start and tactics. Starting on the super-soft tyre should allow them to run slightly longer into the first stint.

However the timing of that first pit stop will be strongly influenced by the traffic situation behind them. Red Bull used the same tactics when the ultra-soft tyre was available at Singapore, but despite starting on the super-softs both drivers pitted before the likes of Rosberg, who was on ultra-softs.

Ferrari, meanwhile, appear to be more preoccupied with beating Red Bull than Mercedes. That will be music to Rosberg’s ears, and give Hamilton further cause to reconsider whether he should take matters into his own hands.

Safety Car appearances are unusual at this track but those who paid attention to Saturday’s GP3 race may have been surprised to note it was used for something as minor as a single car stopped close to an access point. If race control is operating the Safety Car on a hair-trigger this weekend Mercedes’ strategists could age several years in one race.

The yellow flag system also seems particularly sensitive this weekend. There have been many very brief yellow flag periods, during which time the all-important DRS zones are shut off. During one practice session Romain Grosjean complained the marshals were “waving the flag for nothing”.

Drivers should also note the stewards were quick to pounce on a driver overtaking another having put all four wheels off the track at the exit of turn nine. Yas Marina’s run-offs invite this kind of abuse at almost every corner.

That kind of wheel-to-wheel action has been in short supply in F1 races at the track in the past. Hopefully that won’t be the case tomorrow and this down-to-the-wire title battle will get the nailbiting conclusion it deserves.

Qualifying times in full

DriverCarQ1

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’39.4871’39.382 (-0.105)1’38.755 (-0.627)
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’40.5111’39.490 (-1.021)1’39.058 (-0.432)
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’41.0021’40.429 (-0.573)1’39.589 (-0.840)
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’40.3381’39.629 (-0.709)1’39.604 (-0.025)
5Sebastian VettelFerrari1’40.3411’40.034 (-0.307)1’39.661 (-0.373)
6Max VerstappenRed Bull1’40.4241’39.903 (-0.521)1’39.818 (-0.085)
7Nico HulkenbergForce India1’41.0001’40.709 (-0.291)1’40.501 (-0.208)
8Sergio PerezForce India1’40.8641’40.743 (-0.121)1’40.519 (-0.224)
9Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1’41.6161’41.044 (-0.572)1’41.106 (+0.062)
10Felipe MassaWilliams1’41.1571’40.858 (-0.299)1’41.213 (+0.355)
11Valtteri BottasWilliams1’41.1921’41.084 (-0.108)
12Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’41.1581’41.272 (+0.114)
13Esteban GutierrezHaas1’41.6391’41.480 (-0.159)
14Romain GrosjeanHaas1’41.4671’41.564 (+0.097)
15Jolyon PalmerRenault1’41.7751’41.820 (+0.045)
16Pascal WehrleinManor1’41.8861’41.995 (+0.109)
17Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’42.003
18Kevin MagnussenRenault1’42.142
19Felipe NasrSauber1’42.247
20Esteban OconManor1’42.286
21Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso1’42.393
22Marcus EricssonSauber1’42.637

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Lewis Hamilton17.245 (3)41.520 (1)39.990 (1)
Nico Rosberg17.175 (1)41.737 (3)40.146 (2)
Daniel Ricciardo17.413 (6)41.759 (5)40.407 (3)
Kimi Raikkonen17.215 (2)41.794 (6)40.487 (4)
Sebastian Vettel17.249 (4)41.687 (2)40.617 (6)
Max Verstappen17.402 (5)41.758 (4)40.553 (5)
Nico Hulkenberg17.422 (7)42.140 (10)40.841 (7)
Sergio Perez17.469 (9)42.023 (8)40.961 (8)
Fernando Alonso17.624 (13)42.239 (12)41.120 (9)
Felipe Massa17.559 (11)41.916 (7)41.268 (12)
Valtteri Bottas17.655 (15)42.065 (9)41.260 (11)
Jenson Button17.623 (12)42.399 (16)41.136 (10)
Esteban Gutierrez17.460 (8)42.232 (11)41.568 (15)
Romain Grosjean17.500 (10)42.410 (18)41.468 (14)
Jolyon Palmer17.655 (15)42.382 (15)41.435 (13)
Pascal Wehrlein17.683 (18)42.312 (14)41.832 (18)
Daniil Kvyat17.772 (20)42.623 (21)41.608 (17)
Kevin Magnussen17.657 (17)42.407 (17)41.834 (19)
Felipe Nasr17.732 (19)42.596 (19)41.919 (20)
Esteban Ocon17.981 (22)42.287 (13)42.018 (22)
Carlos Sainz Jnr17.841 (21)42.800 (22)41.583 (16)
Marcus Ericsson17.629 (14)42.609 (20)41.952 (21)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarEngineSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Felipe MassaWilliamsMercedes347.1 (215.7)
2Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari343.6 (213.5)-3.5
3Marcus EricssonSauberFerrari343.5 (213.4)-3.6
4Esteban OconManorMercedes343.5 (213.4)-3.6
5Valtteri BottasWilliamsMercedes343.4 (213.4)-3.7
6Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari342.3 (212.7)-4.8
7Romain GrosjeanHaasFerrari341.7 (212.3)-5.4
8Esteban GutierrezHaasFerrari341.2 (212.0)-5.9
9Pascal WehrleinManorMercedes340.8 (211.8)-6.3
10Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaMercedes340.0 (211.3)-7.1
11Felipe NasrSauberFerrari339.9 (211.2)-7.2
12Sergio PerezForce IndiaMercedes339.7 (211.1)-7.4
13Kevin MagnussenRenaultRenault339.4 (210.9)-7.7
14Jolyon PalmerRenaultRenault338.0 (210.0)-9.1
15Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes337.2 (209.5)-9.9
16Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes336.4 (209.0)-10.7
17Fernando AlonsoMcLarenHonda335.7 (208.6)-11.4
18Daniil KvyatToro RossoFerrari335.1 (208.2)-12.0
19Daniel RicciardoRed BullTAG Heuer335.1 (208.2)-12.0
20Max VerstappenRed BullTAG Heuer334.9 (208.1)-12.2
21Jenson ButtonMcLarenHonda334.5 (207.8)-12.6
22Carlos Sainz JnrToro RossoFerrari332.0 (206.3)-15.1

Remaining tyres

DriverTeamSoftSuper-softUltra-soft
NewUsedNewUsedNewUsed
Lewis HamiltonMercedes213
Nico RosbergMercedes213
Sebastian VettelFerrari213
Kimi RaikkonenFerrari213
Felipe MassaWilliams213
Valtteri BottasWilliams11122
Daniel RicciardoRed Bull213
Max VerstappenRed Bull213
Nico HulkenbergForce India213
Sergio PerezForce India213
Kevin MagnussenRenault2122
Jolyon PalmerRenault2113
Daniil KvyatToro Rosso2113
Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso2113
Marcus EricssonSauber2122
Felipe NasrSauber2122
Fernando AlonsoMcLaren213
Jenson ButtonMcLaren2113
Pascal WehrleinManor2113
Esteban OconManor2122
Romain GrosjeanHaas2113
Esteban GutierrezHaas2113

Over to you

Will Hamilton resist the temptation to meddle with Rosberg’s race if the opportunity presents itself? Due you think he should? Or can Rosberg take the title in style?

Share your views on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the comments.

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Browse all 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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70 comments on “Will he or won’t he? Delaying Rosberg may be Hamilton’s last resort”

  1. If Hamilton is ahead by a mile and Rosberg turns the engine down, that might be a bad move because if Nico will be running weaker engine and the others stronger engines, he might get caught… But hey… it’s a mercedes… The only way I can see some fight or some action will be if Nico messes up the start or if Hamilton backs him up like China 2015. Also, if this happens, Hamilton’s best hope is that the red bull or ferraris protect the undercut from Nico because the new tyres are seriously a lot quicker than old ones. However, it seems that once the tyres are at their newest, Mercedes do not have problems following cars. So I think Lewis has no choice but to slow him down…..

    1. He can even risk giving Nico a failure if he keeps him so close behind…

  2. Ham did it before, of course, but this time Nico can just sort of go for the overtake and crash both out of the race: factoring that in I don’t know if Ham will consider that option so much. His best change will be to try and create a messy first turn for Ros: he’s quite good at that.

    1. If Rosberg does crash Ham as he did in the past, there is a chance of DSQ from championship… for unsportsmanlike behavior… like u said, best bet is messy first corner if ros doesnt mess up start, or keep pushing Ros back to RB or Ferrari… Like Verstappen did to Vettel… :) all of course possible if either merc dont wrap eachother around eachother or dont invent a late mechanical failure…

      1. If Rosberg does crash Ham as he did in the past, there is a chance of DSQ from championship.

        @mysticus Cringe worthy a fan of the sport would say that…

        On top of that, on the past 800 or so GPs we’ve had first corner accidents have happened, and I don’t recall anyone being DSQ, so even if they crash there’s no reason whatsoever to assume Rosberg should get DSQ.

        1. To be fair, he/she only said there would be a chance. Besides, I’m old enough to remember Jerez 1997 and that could easily happen again if Rosberg ‘does an Austria’ for example.

          1. Except Jerez wasn’t a first-lap incident for which stewards are more lenient (remember Lewis cutting across the grass at T1 in Mexico).

          2. @john-h do you think @xtwl the mighty F1 God Expert would interpret anything differently if it is about Ham? He thinks this could be one of those “first corner accidents” had it happened… Rosberg did intentionally crash Ham before, and if he did it again, there is a chance he would be DSQ, as it happened before.

            Unfortunately none of those happened, and Ham did everything he could, and this is a track Merc is miles ahead of others… Merc is of course is unpredictable car, and for one reason or other all those unpredictable things happened to Ham, esp in crucial times… Well ifs and buts dont matter now as much as it is not fair, it is in the sport… It was fun year for us fans/viewers, though, i didnt win/loose anything other than fun, unlikely some F1 gurus, who has so much pride in their personal opinions like they are above everyone else’s… :) my 2 pretty pennies…

    2. geoffgroom44 (@)
      27th November 2016, 11:58

      Shades of Schumacher ?

      1. Nico is no MS, and just as MS couldn’t afford it and found out the hard way, Nico cannot afford for some stupid move to damage his own car more than the other. I like that he’s in P2 because otherwise, and assuming equal starts, LH could have dive bombed him on the inside and push him off claiming understeer. But LH equally would not be able to afford such a gamble and risk breaking his own car. That said, it seems like often enough drivers forget about the risks to their own cars and do silly things nonetheless. Gonna be a nail biter of a start.

  3. The team don’t allow Hamilton to back up Rosberg. Lewis has tried this tactic before only to be threatened by the team they will Nico the priority in the pit stops essentially undercutting Lewis. His dirty tactic #2, cutting turns 1 and 2 if Nico gets close at the start, won’t work here either since it’s slower here in Abu Dhabi than in Mexico. I think Lewis’ is out of options. He needs to chalk it up as another championship opportunity throw away and come back next year. Hopefully he will have learned to race the first races of the season with the same vigor as a the last races.

    1. I think Hamilton’s entitled to do whatever he wants within the rules of the sport. And backing up Rosberg is totally fine by the rules. Obviously the team objected before as it wants a 1+2, not Rosberg being overtaken, but given everything is decided now bar the actual drivers championship, they should stay out of it. That includes ‘penalizing’ Hamilton if he tries to slow Rosberg down or anything else (and vice-versa). Backing Rosberg up carries its own dangers, including the very obvious fact that it allows Rosberg to try to pass – and aggressively enough to take Hamilton out of the race if he doesn’t cede. It doesn’t need pit side intervention.

    2. What will the team do? The WCC is won. If they try to interfere with their fight they will be seen as pro-Rosberg and become “enemies of the state” in Britain. Why would they want that? Hamilton can do as he pleases in that respect IMO.

      And regarding the second wrong thing you wrote(out of 2), let’s not forget that the majority of LH’s problems were outside of his control(apart from the starts, but the starts are not what made him come to the last race of the season with a 12 point deficit).

    3. Dirty tactics, Lol, same place Nico did the same, minor or major they both went off track!

      He is not out of options, and there is a chance Ros may have mechanical problems as he is on his last PU for some races now, and even new doesnt guarantee trouble free race… Eg, Malaysia, thanx to superb unreliability issues only on Ham’s car, team gifted Ros 28 points alone in that occasion… Besides, Ham can push Ros back and from team’s pov, they ve won the champs, and loosing a few points is not bad thing now as they pay a fee based on each point they got at the end… so not a bad thing…

      What will morelikely happen is Ros will try and play the safe card… and keeping a distance to Ham… He is well overdue for a mechanical failure and statistic are on Ros’s bad side as this track is not very kind to him… Maybe a spin, or first corner incident with Ros and one of the RB/Ferrari is the best outcome for Ham… a slow puncture, and it will be really difficult for Ros…

    4. Hopefully he will have learned to race the first races of the season with the same vigor as a the last races

      Obviously you mean “Hopefully his team will given him a reliable car at the start of the season”.

  4. Very few drivers had a world title taken away from them by their team mates.

    Is that so?
    I seem to remember Ferrari, Mclaren, Williams, Renault.. all powerfull teams with two drivers contending for the title in the past.
    In fact it’s seems quite normal. Check for yourself. Number one versus runner up combined with team.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_World_Drivers%27_Championship_runners-up
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_World_Drivers'_Champions

    1. Defending champions having title taken by teammate happens a lot?

    2. @seth-space I think you may have misunderstood me. Which drivers are you referring to?

      1. @keithcollantine I don’t know whom @seth-space was referring to but it made me look up the history. And this is the list of drivers who lost the title to their team-mate:

        Farina(1951 to Fangio)
        Brabham(1967 to Hulme, a bit weird this one, as he still won it as an owner)
        Lauda(1985 to Prost)
        Senna(1989 to Prost)

        short list indeed

        1. So Hamilton can emulate his hero once again by losing it to Rosberg… (Sorry, I didn’t resist).

          Either of them will be a deserving champion, but I fear if Nico loses it will break his spirit so badly that he won’t be the same again…

        2. @montreal95 Damon Hill/Villeneuve

        3. @montreal95 Yeah that’s what I thought.

          @xtwl Villeneuve wasn’t Hill team mate when Villeneuve won the championship.

          1. And in JV’s rookie year he did still have a shot going into the last race but had unreliability ultimately, and DH was leading when JV had his troubles and could no longer apply pressure. ie. DH didn’t cause JV’s demise by tactics.

  5. He has to make Rosberg run in dirty air to use up his tyres, and drop him into traffic going long on Softs when they stop. Off the start, if he can, get the inside line then have a lift a la Kimi 07.

    I wouldn’t like to be on the pit crew, anyway. I mean, can you imagine… ?

  6. Surely, can somebody explain this, because surely if Hamilton back Rosberg into the Red Bulls then would the Red Bulls not struggle to close the gap to Rosberg for the same reason that Rosberg would struggle to close the gap to Hamilton.

    I know the Red Bulls probably have superior downforce, however if it were enough to pass Rosberg then Hamilton risks getting passed himself.

    1. It is risky @strontium, but so is not doing it, and the Red Bulls have the best traction and brakes. However Lewis needs to be 1.1s ahead to avoid giving Rosberg DRS, otherwise the plan wouldn’t work anyway because the RBR’s / Ferraris would never catch a DRS-ing Merc. 1.1 – 1.5s is the range.

    2. I think the idea is to destroy Rosberg’s tyres by blowing hot air on them. When Nico starts defending from the Bulls, turn the engine up and disappear in the distance.

      I must say: if Hamilton succeeds in backing Rosberg into traffic (which is a very long shot), he deserves that crown.

      1. I think Hamilton will crash tomorrow in Rosberg or push him out of the circuit. Smart tactics like “backing Rosberg into traffic” are just not Hamilton’s way of doing things. Hamilton is a bully and a bully can do just one thing: hit hard and run after.

        1. It really doesn’t make sense for Lewis to crash into Nico and risk a DNF himself or hinder his own position in the race. The smart tactic that I expect him to employ is – get a good start, put some distance between himself and the next driver, win the race. Nothing much he can do about those behind him.

    3. @strontium Different tyre compounds, different tyre ages, different car characteristics, different drivers, all this and more can make the difference. In this case I would say the startling late-braking capabilities of the Red Bull, which both its drivers have used to incredible effect this year, could help them pull off a move.

  7. Rosberg is doing exactly what he needs to do for the championship, although he wants to win (every driver wants to win), he also knows that 2nd or 3rd is enough for the WDC…

    I personally feel Rosberg is driving his own race and will do everything he needs to do in order to make sure he finishes on the podium…

    1. Yep, he’s driving a perfectly reliable car. I don’t see this changing for the race either.

  8. Surely, can somebody explain this,

    It’s Hamilton fans grasping as straws. Honer made the comment to throw a spanner into the works and now Ham fans are going crazy with speculation. If Hamilton is silly enough to bunch up the pack into Rosberg, he’ll compromise his own race as well. He won’t have a “gap” to pit into, he’ll come out into traffic after the pits and potentially fall behind his teammate.

    1. He can do it at the end of the race, no need for pit strategies.

    2. Its not Hamilton fans at all, its everyone who knows what motorsport is about sees its one of very few options to him. I think Hamiltons car will have an issue anyway, not a conspiracy just sods law.

    3. Honer made the comment to throw a spanner into the works and now Ham fans are going crazy with speculation.

      I wouldn’t describe myself as a Hamilton fan but it’s been likely for a long time this is how the final races would play out. As mentioned above I first wrote about it several weeks before the comments you’re referring to:

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2016/11/08/hamilton-can-disrupt-rosbergs-title-run/

      That article also addresses the point you’ve made about the potential downsides to trying to interfere with Rosberg’s race.

      1. I wouldn’t describe myself as a Hamilton fan

        Good one, Keith :)

      2. I wouldn’t describe myself as a Hamilton fan
        Tell me something I don’t know.
        Personally I’d be surprised if Lewis backed Nico up tomorrow……I’m hoping he just blasts off into the distance and proves once again that when given a reliable car he is the better driver of the 2.

        1. … or a fan of any other driver. Or team.

  9. If nico loses the crown it will be kinda his own fault by racing for 2nd in the last 3 races and not fighting lewis..attack is the best form of defense…great drivers do not race for 2nd.

    1. @nosehair Not true. Many of the greatest ever drivers have raced for 2nd to close up a WDC. Prost even used to race for 4th place! Precisely what he needed. Piquet, Lauda, Fittipaldi, Stewart used to do the same.

      I know it’s not exciting for the fans and I personally would like LH to win. But the statement “attack is the best form of defense” is exactly as wrong as its opposite “defense is the best form of attack”. It all depends of the circumstances at hand. And if I were in Rosberg’s shoes, with high degree of probability I’d have done exactly the same. As a fan I want them to be always on the attack. But from their point of view there’s time to attack and there’s time to defend what you’ve got. Like in real life basically

    2. @nosehair – I believe Nico has always been aiming for pole in qualy, with the intention of winning from pole had he secured it. But once he loses pole, he opts to run a safe second rather than attacking very hard for first, fully knowing that second will suffice. Its a smart decision, rather than an emotional decision. Today will tell us whether it has paid dividends.

      Entertaining us fans is a far lower priority than many others on drivers’ lists, no matter what lip service they might pay (and I don’t fault them for that).

  10. If Rosberg loses this chance to get a title, well it’s his own fault since doing nothing leads to nothing. But he has a good chance to beat Hamilton since I see Hamilton to be quite angry even if he was focused in the qualifying session today. I bet that tomorrow Hamilton will just push Rosberg out of the track or even worse, just crash into him. One thing I don’t really understand, is why these two drivers never shook their hands in the press conference. In the past years when Hamilton had the advantage, Rosberg seem far better ar sorting this, but Hamilton seems defiant now, mostly to the people and making fun of Rosberg, at every opportunity. That’s not something a good drivers, quite the opposite. I don’t like Hamilton but when he loses, he blames everybody else, even saying that “God doesn’t want him to win”, but even if he makes a mistake, always others are to blame. And that I don’t really like no matter who that person is. I’ve moved past his lying incident in 2007, or the one in 2009, but still I don’t really understand his attitude, I am quite sure that it’s Rosberg who broke his engine. I do remember that Hamilton pushed him plenty of times thou, in my opinion Hamilton is a bully (he was bullied himself in the past so all he can do is repeat it), and I remember the 2011 season and his figths with Massa… what a nightmare that was, but still in the last two years he got a very good car so… he won two titles. Even thinking at random factors, Rosberg should have a chance out of three to a title, so let’s see how this goes, and I mean the race tomorrow.

    All I can say is technical problems happen, that doesn’t mean that Mercedes hasn’t tried to fix everything but still, there’s no better car than the one they prepare and well maybe Hamilton wants to drive a McLaren, maybe? In regard with the engineers moved from Hamilton’s team to Rosberg’s team, I haven’t heard anything about them leaving the team or protesting, also I’ve seen a lot of teams doing the same thing, trying to improve both drivers and their support teams. Also if you help just the 1st driver, why bother saying that you’re fair to both of them? Hamilton just doesn’t understand how teams works, he never understood what having a teammate means, and till today Rosberg was the best of them, and still doing his best in the mean time. In my opinion Hamilton is a person who think he’s the best in everything, I bet he’s dreaming that he’s designing the car, preparing it for the race also. His engineers do not really like him but they do a hell of a job, his previous engineers from McLaren hated him… for the same reason. At the end of the day, when you join a team, all you can do is either accept it or just… behave like Hamilton. Most drivers try to integrate in that team, but Hamilton seems to play for himself only. But… there’s 1500 engineers in that Mercedes team, what happens if they forget how to be fair with both drivers? I don’t really wanna be Hamilton then, and what he doesn’t get it, is that point is quite closer than even he thinks.

    So let’s see how the race goes :P

    1. @neogalaxy

      You may wish to learn more before you comment. The reason for no handshake was actually because Nico said no.. Neither driver extended their arm, but Nico verbally said no. So how is that Hamiltons fault ?

      1. Didn’t you get the memo Tom? It is always Hamilton’s fault. Always! Facts don’t matter it’s just Hamilton’s fault. It’s a very simple way of assigning blame in any situation. I’m surprised there isn’t anyone on here demanding Hamilton apologise to Torro Rosso for all their tyre issues this weekend.

    2. @neogalaxy

      It was Rosberg that said I’m not shaking hands. Don’t get me wrong Hamilton has been goading him in the press a lot with his comments about feeling like he’ll be the moral victor and dissing the way Rosberg celebrated Monaco 2015, but Rosberg still refused the handshake.

    3. Difficult to push someone off the track when you’re in front, though. More likely the shunt will come from Rosie–first turn. and if Verstappen gets a flyer, look out—could be Safety car and restart—without Rosberg!!

  11. Oh you scamps pretending this won’t be the most boring race of the season, another Nico cruise and collect for P2 and Mercedes barely taxing the hardware yet still finishing 20 seconds clear. But I understand the need to squeeze every potential drop of excitement out of this anticlimax.

    1. No logical comment, please. You ruin it..

  12. You didn’t mention HAM’s other big consideration. If he backs up his team mate into rivals and something happens, such as a ROS collision with a rival, then the team might be furious with him, and who knows what the consequences of that will be for him.

    1. Presumably the same as at Monaco 2014, Spa, or Spain or Austria this year. Or one of the others that they didn’t mention at all.

      Toto was given the opportunity to say it was outlawed and he didn’t take it. And nobody else who matters has said it would be illegitimate either.

      Personally I think the team would be relieved.

    2. The team won’t be pleased but they have both titles wrapped up, on balance, there are times they’ve let Hamilton down on results this season, and times he’s let them down as well, but they know the deal when drivers are racing for a championship.

      And that would either be Rosberg’s or the other driver’s ultimate fault for the collision. They wouldn’t be pleased, but they wouldn’t do a thing about it.

  13. I just hope Lewis leads the race dosent try any tricks wins fare and square. and let’s the rest of the race pan out . I do not understand this extremely unpleasant attitude towards drivers , Lewis is probably the most villified but Alonso seems to come in for a lot of nonsense as well. Nigel Mansell had a reputation of being a winger ,maybe it had an element of truth in it. who cares .F1 is about who drives the cars the fastest . It’s not Miss World ,I don’t care if the driver wants to save the world and be a role model for hair gel. Who dares wins. Nico or Lewis.

    1. It’s still winning fare and square if he try’s anything within the rules… That’s like saying ” I hope that driver doesn’t try to undercut the other guy because that would be mean” it’s everyone for themselves on the track and if a driver has the ability to influence the result to suit them more then why not ? Everything a driver does on track is a tactic, so why not use it if it’s a well known flaw of the Mercedes car ?

  14. Barring a random tech failure or less-than-optimal start for either Mercedes driver, Hamilton does not have many options. Normally, he’d lead, Rosberg would drop behind a bit to save his tyres but stay ahead of Ferrari/Red Bull. Rosberg’s happy, WDC. Hamilton’s happy, fourth win in a row and miffed for being second in the WDC.
    The “problem” is that the two Mercedes cars/drivers are very close in performance, yet appreciably ahead of the rest. The option of backing Rosberg back into the pack might appear possible, but might/might not give any advantage, could possibly backfire on his own pit stops, yellows and/or safety cars might be a further headache, and his reputation would most probably suffer.
    Sportsmanship would best be served, from Hamilton’s point of view, by a convincing win and a gracious recognition of Rosberg as WDC. Let’s see if his inner-self will allow that…

  15. Lewis can not afford to hold Nico. Not when Ricciardo racing with more durable tyres. Nico can let Ricciardo pass just before first pit and let him ruin Lewis pace.
    This is Ricciardo last chance to win a race.

    1. Ricciardo has already won a race this year (Malaysia).

  16. Slowing down to back Nico into cars behind would not really be the best thing to do because it also puts Lewis at risk from anyone behind running a different strategy.

    If the Red Bull’s & Ferrari’s see them-selfs been slowed up by Lewis playing games with Nico & they don’t manage to pass Nico then there far more likely to try the undercut which with Lewis running slower than full pace & not building a gap gives them a higher possibility of jumping Lewis as well as Nico & Lewis can’t afford to not win as Lewis finishing 2nd or 3rd means Nico can afford to finish 4th or 5th.

    The best thing for Lewis to do is go out there & run his own race. He needs to build a gap to protect himself from other drivers trying something different on strategy.

    1. If Hamilton tries to back Rosberg into the Ferrari drivers or the Red Bull ones he will have the most to lose since it means that other drivers can surpass both Hamilton and Roberg or even worst, after the 1st pitstop to stay ahead of them. Which is again another loss for Hamilton and less for Rosberg. Rosberg makes mistakes indeed under pressure, but he can also just let others pass him while Hamilton will fight them and lose way more than Rosberg, but these are just scenarios at this point :P

  17. Something tells me Verstappen is going to have big role to play in deciding this championship whoever wins.

  18. Well if he’s a calculating man, which I imagine he is, and he actually is in a position to do so, then he will at least try something to that effect, I certainly know I would… barring unforeseeables, that is his only chance of retaining the title.

  19. Wolff said that he expects his drivers to be sportsmanlike. He said that when he was asked whether Hamilton would delay Rosberg. Therefore if Hamilton tries to do this he may be stopped by Mercedes.

    This would not be unfair in my opinion as they have clarified on many occassions that for them the team comes first. This is why Rosberg let Hamilton pass him in Monaco.

    If I remember correctly, Hamilton actually thanked him for this so I expect him to simply try to build a commanding lead to show that he is the best.

    1. But the other thing never happent. If Rosberg would had kept Hamilton behind him at Monaco, he would have even more points now, so being sportsmanlike with Hamilton is really a dumb idea since the man can’t do the same.

  20. Very few drivers had a world title taken away from them by their team mates.

    There are as many drivers that have lost a championship to their teammate as have won a championship surely? :P

    1. @philipgb He means a driver that won the title with the next year his teammate winning it.

      1. @xtwl – thanks for clearing that up. I too had read the statement the way Philip read it and was confused – I thought Keith referred to teammates being title contenders within the same season, and not teammates as title winners in successive seasons.

  21. Aren’t you all missing Abu Double?

    1. Atleast it had kept Nico’s hopes of a championship win alive

  22. So Hamilton is the overall stronger driver, Rosberg seems to be really good at managing leads in both championship and races. Who deserves the title this year? I’d say Rosberg, not just because I am not a fan of Hamilton. Let’s not forget that the race for the title would be over already, if Hamilton hadn’t bowled out Rosberg in Barcelona or recklessly crashed him out of the way on Austria.

    Today, Rosberg can afford to crash Hamilton, but he cannot afford to tangle with the RBs. I think that, given the opportunity, Rosberg should go full attack for the win. Hamilton has to disengage if he wants to keep his hopes alive. Managing 2nd place should only be Rosberg’s plan B.

  23. geoffgroom44 (@)
    27th November 2016, 12:05

    I would hope that Nico would stamp his superiority over this race by winning it in a straightforward – no mechanical failures – fight. If that happens I will lift my cap to him. Short of that happening I will need some convincing that a blown up engine model should not be the World Champion’s trophy this year!
    For me it is not enough to simply place 2nd or 3rd. Always there would be the undercurrent of doubt. If Lewis wins that would be 10 races to 9 – or 11 to 8 without a blown engine.
    Whilst on that subject, has anyone heard more about the oil problem that caused the bearing failure in that blown engine?

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