It goes without saying that a Mercedes driver won the Brazilian Grand Prix
—the penultimate race of a nail-biting season.
It was also Mercedes’ 11th one-two of the season, a new F1
record, which drives home the post-Red Bull dominance in an era that has so many teams curiously mismatched. It may not always be fun to watch, but the internal struggle and battle for top dog position has been enthralling.
This time, however, it was Rosberg who set the marker. His 10th pole position of the season resulted in his 5th win, in the process ending Hamilton’s dominant 5-race winning streak.
If a script had to be written after the US Grand Prix, where Hamilton looked to be running away with the championship after opening up a 24 point lead, it had to have Rosberg winning a desperate race—just so that he could take it down to Abu Dhabi, the final race of the season.
And he did drive a desperate but perfect race.
He didn’t make any mistakes, and let a charging and faster Hamilton flap around behind him. The Brit looked to have Rosberg well within his range until the 27th lap, where he expected to be called in to pit. The team delayed this decision by a lap, which in turn, caused Hamilton to spin on his overbaked medium tyres—and caused the gap to go from a second to seven within a lap after the pitstop. This was the mistake that possibly cost Hamilton the race, and only time will tell if it also costs him the Championship. He later managed to whittle down the gap from 9 to 1.5 seconds going into the last few laps, and almost slingshot Rosberg towards the end, but the German held a strong defensive line.
But the Brazilian faithful had their sights on their beloved home boy—Felipe Massa, who drove an inspired but flawed race to come home in 3rd. After being given a 5-second drive through penalty for speeding in the pits, he even pitted in the McLaren garage by mistake. Despite these funny errors, Massa rounded off the podium, followed by Button—who has pretty much sealed his place for the next season after another strong drive in 4th place.
He will be joined by Fernando Alonso, another ex-World Champion, who will be leaving Ferrari to be replaced by Sebastian Vettel. Raikkonen has been virtually absent from proceedings this season, but will be kept on his cold toes by the incoming German 4-time Champ next season. It will be a mouthwatering proposition.
Heading into Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton leads Nico Rosberg by 17 points. In the normal scheme of things, you’d think this is a gap that’s virtually impossible to fill in a single race.
But for the first time, the final race will award double points. Hence, the winner will get 50 and second will get 34 points. So if Hamilton finishes second again, he will be World Champion, if only by a point. Rosberg requires the Brit to make a mistake and fall behind, something he hasn’t done since Belgium—where Rosberg was responsible for most of the chaos.
The double-points scenario may seem like a desperate scheme to rescue F1
and make things more interesting, but the two drivers have definitely set themselves up for a great finish.
Hamilton deserves to win the Championship. Rosberg could be destined to win the Championship.
Come Abu Dhabi, we will find out.