They think it’s all over – but is Nico Rosberg’s grip on the 2016 F1 world title as firm as it seems?
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Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  11 Oct 2016   |  2:16 pm GMT  |  124 comments

Nico Rosberg leads his Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton by 33 points after he won the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend while his title rival finished third. There are a maximum of 100 points available from the four remaining races.

But can it still slip away from Rosberg’s grasp? We’ve dug out some memorable moments from recent F1 history where the driver in Rosberg’s position has not managed to hold on, as food for thought.

Since the 2000 season, the driver leading the championship with four races to go has claimed the crown in 13 out of 16 years, and only three times has a points deficit been turned around into a triumph.

So is Rosberg’s maiden world championship victory – and his first title since he won the inaugural GP2 championship in 2005 – a foregone conclusion?

Nico Rosberg

The German driver can now afford to finish second to Hamilton at all of the remaining races in the 2016 season and still claim the crown, but that scenario is not very likely as Mercedes has only managed four one-two finishes all season, a third as many as last year. As was proved in the recent Malaysian Grand Prix, unexpected reliability problems could also yet hurt either Mercedes driver.

As we outlined here, both Hamilton and Rosberg have been hit with mechanical troubles during the 2016 season, but the Briton’s issues have certainly come at worse times.

Race starts are another big variable which has hurt Mercedes this year; Mercedes has admitted that its clutch system is difficult for its drivers to use and causes problems during race starts. “The clutch we are giving them is not perfect,” said the company’s motorsport boss Toto Wolff after Hamilton lost six positions on the run to Turn 1 after a slow getaway in Japan. “It is difficult to handle the clutch in the right way.”

Japanese Grand Prix 2016

Hamilton appears to be having more issues with this than his teammate, but Rosberg has lost out to faster starting cars on several occasions this year too.

As has been the case in the last two years of Mercedes’ F1 dominance, if its cars are not running in clean air they struggle to get back past their competitors. This was evidenced by both Rosberg and Hamilton each finishing third in the last two races after losing places at the start (the former was spun around by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in Malaysia).

The clutch issue could also trigger a further potential problem for Rosberg – other teams taking points away from him. This year, the third season in a row that it has won the constructors’ championship, Mercedes has only scored four 1-2 finishes compared to the 12 it scored in 2015 and 11 in 2014, which is in part down to the improvements made by its rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.

Max Verstappen

If a start issue costs Rosberg places to those teams that he could not fully recover over the course of a race – as Hamilton could not in Japan – he can only afford to finish third once (assuming Hamilton wins all of the remaining races) and come second at the other three races and still win the title.

While those are all hypothetical scenarios, there are several instances in F1 history of drivers overturning large points gaps and winning the championship.

Christian Horner, boss the Red Bull team who saw Sebastian Vettel win the 2010 title despite being third in the championship entering the final race (see below), believes that Hamilton should not give up in his quest to beat Rosberg to the 2016 championship.

Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton

“He only needs that sniff of something,” said Horner. “A DNF from Nico and a win from Lewis and he’s right back in the game again, so things can change very quickly.

“We saw it with Kimi [Raikkonen] when he stole the championship from under the noses of Lewis and Fernando [Alonso] in 2007. There are still 100 points available in this championship and it would be a foolish person to rule him out at this stage.”

With all of that in mind, here are five memorable occasions the world championship was won by drivers fighting back from behind in the closing stages of the season.

2007 – Kimi Raikkonen

Despite going into the final two races of his first season as a Ferrari driver 17 points behind the McLaren pair of Alonso and Hamilton, (with a maximum of 10pts available for a win) Raikkonen remarkably took the title with two crucial victories as his rivals faltered.

Kimi Raikkonen 2007

Alonso lost valuable ground by crashing at the Japanese Grand Prix, but it was Hamilton’s worn tyre wear induced DNF and gearbox problems at the Chinese and Brazilian races that left Raikkonen with a slim chance to win, which he went on to do by just one point.

1976 – James Hunt

The 1976 season and the title battle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, immortalised in the 2013 film Rush, went down to the wire after the Briton closed the points gap to the Ferrari driver who missed two races as a result of his enormous accident at the Nurburgring.

Lauda came back quickly despite his injuries – he sensationally finished fourth at the Italian Grand Prix just six weeks after the crash – but he pulled out of the finale in Fuji due to the torrential conditions while Hunt finished third to take the title by a single point.

2000 – Michael Schumacher

Schumacher won his first title for Ferrari – and the Scuderia’s first since 1979 – by overturning a deficit to McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen in the final four races of the 2000 season.

Michael Schumacher 2000

The German driver took three consecutive victories to win his third world title with a race to spare (which he also went on to win) as an engine failure at Indianapolis cost Hakkinen dearly.

1986 – Alain Prost

Prost’s second title bears similarities to Raikkonen’s triumph in 2007 as he beat two bitterly battling teammates to take an unlikely crown.

The Frenchman was 11 points adrift of Nigel Mansell and one behind Nelson Piquet in the second Williams (in the days when a win was worth 9 points) with two races to go, but a second place finish at the penultimate round in Mexico and then a victory in Australia after Mansell’s tyre exploded (the Briton was running in the third place he needed to secure the title) was enough to claim the championship by just two points.

2010 – Sebastian Vettel

Four drivers – Vettel, Alonso, Mark Webber and Hamilton – arrived at the season finale in Abu Dhabi in mathematical contention for the 2010 title.

Sebastian Vettel 2010

Alonso and Webber were separated by just eight points, with Vettel 15 behind the Spaniard and Hamilton nine further adrift and with a very outside shot of winning the championship.

Ferrari concentrated on covering Webber’s race strategy – a grave error as Vettel won the race while Alonso and Webber got stuck in the pack down in seventh and eighth, famously behind Vitaly Petrov’s Renault. The result was enough to give Vettel his first world championship by four points over Alonso.

Who do you think will win the 2016 world championship? Do you have a favourite title comeback story? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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1

To me Alex this season has shared some similarities with the 1999 season where Mika Hakkinen fought Eddie Irvine to WDC ( after Michael Schumacher dropped out of contention ) . Of course this differences are this year nobody has broken a leg and the the drivers involved are team mates. The similarity between start with the fact Mika and McLaren had poor reliability and made many mistakes despite being the fastest car driver package which opened the door to Eddie and Ferrari to score wins and even lead the championship going into that years last race at Suzuka where Mika turned it round .
This makes it a resemblance to the season Lewis has had this year as both he and the team have made errors and the reliability issues on Lewis's car -all of which have enabled Rosberg to hoover up points and score wins .

Rosberg is of course quicker than Irvine ever was as he has at least been on pole but like Eddie compared to Mika , Rosberg is a far less complete package as a driver compared to Lewis and I believe like Mika in '99 Lewis will turn it round at the last race and win a 4th WDC.

2

"They think it's all over ... well it is now!"

Invoking a great moment in English football history, on a day where the current national side were trying their best to play in Slovenian strikers on at least 3 separate occasions. Oh man were they bad!

3

I have to disagree with your last statement. I would say Rosberg is the more complete driver. And that is why he has stayed consistent throughout the year and gained points when he could. Hamilton is, at his peak, faster but those peaks come between some very average troughs. His starts have been horrendous all season. This alone takes a great chunk out of his completeness.

4

Sir Tease, surely Nico's lows have been lower than Lewis'? Monaco, Canada, Silverstone and Hockenheim were poor performances, Monaco in particular.

5

I would agree with you. Interesting article on an interview with Nico in Autosport today in which he says that Lewis put in more work with the engineers between Malaysia and Japan than he had seen him do in many months. Perhaps if Lewis had put in the required work consistently instead of pursuing his celebrity lifestyle he wouldn't be in the position he is now. Nico is under no illusions about Lewis' focus now though, and does not believe he is in 'meltdown', so is taking nothing for granted. If Nico does become WDC he will most certainly be worthy of it.

6

Yep totally agree.nico has the eyes on and look out 2017 if he does take it this year. I think he will be quite a different driver next year. Not that he needs to change much. He has learned alot from last year. It would have hurt him more so than 2014. Good luck NR I hope you pull it off. Cheers

7

It aint over till it's over! If Nico does win it, then good on him, but I still think Lewis will get there in the end.

8

Agree with you. Good luck to Nico he is doing the graft and keeping it grounded.
But he is up against a team mate with more talent and just one DNF and/or another "monaco" type performance in the wet and it will slip away.
At least the season is ,more interesting this year:)

9

True: Mercedes as a team has already won the Drivers Champ as well as Constructors (Ricciardo is 101 points behind). Its just a matter of which Merc driver will prevail.

10

Exactly. Anyone who thinks with 4 races, 800 miles and 100 points of racing left that the title is a certainty is a wally. Until the mathematical possibilities have been concluded, then the only big man upstairs knows the destiny of this years' championship.............speaking of Him, should He open the heavens like he did last year in Texas, or Brazil, a rain affected slippery track always creates a wildcard race.

11

Nothing is over until it's over and therefore there can be no 'counting chickens'. the smallest of errors could force changes to the status quo and if i was to make a guess i'd have to say rosberg on the face of it but.........

12

Not really a fan of either guy, but I fully expected Hamilton to come out of the summer break and pretty much run the table. He just looks defeated now, which surprises me a bit and if he isn't able to make up any ground in Austin, it's Nico's to lose.

13

The "if he isn't able to make up any ground in ..." moment was this weekend. Had Hamilton won this weekend, then he still would have had it in his own hands. Now that's gone, with 3 2nd and 1 3rd place being enough for Nico to seal the victory. IF Hamilton wins all left races, that is.
I don't think Rosberg is the best driver out there, or better than his team mate, but if you get the most points then you're the champion...

14

It's not over till The Fat Lady Sings.
Though an uphill task it only takes one DNF or problem in the Car to give Lewis a chance to get his hands on the title. He has comeback from the back foot before.
He will probably chill now as it's all about the driving and the pressure is nullified.
Example..
Like a footballer who's just been picked for his national team for the world cup. His performance in a league match maybe tempered with a subconscious thought of not getting injured. So goes into tackles half heartedly and then gets injured and out of the World Cup. That may happen with Rosberg in the next four races too. He may try to steer out of trouble (or steer in as he usually does as he has no idea how to pass fairly, like his shunt on Kimi in Malaysia ).
Anything can happen.
So Lewis has a a break to re-jig his Mojo and hoist up The Union Jack with the Skull 💀and Cross Bones next to it. Brandish a cutlass and come out swinging 💪 & kicking some 🏃European mainland behinds 🏃while sticking the archers two fingers at the competition ✌(reverse). 👍Yep us Brits Kick Ass 👍
✊Never say Never✊ LH can still do it.
In Malaysia he was in his "A" Game.
In Japan he was so close to pole a bad start but he came back to a podium finish.
That shows Metal.
So Dunkirk spirit and last grenade all the way Lewis .

15

well, then good Nico is not from Iceland 🙂

16

Fat lady is already doing her warm up. Drivers championship has already been won by Mercedes along with the constructors. Everyone else is out.

17

And in Malaysia Nico came back from being shunted by Vettel back to 21 and took 3rd. There are many, drivers included, who saw nothing wrong with Nico's pass on Kimi. just a racing incident.

18

Nico was 17th after lap 1 in Malaysia. 4 drivers sustained damage at the first corner, ostensibly because they were trying to avoid taking out a title challenger. Massa was already behind having started in the pits.

19

Yes, Nico (or any driver for that matter), would be foolish to slow their pace at such a crucial point as this. He needs to come to Austin and put in another Singapore/Japan quality performance at a bare minimum to seal this one. Even then, with Mercedes phantom engine problems he really needs to come into every weekend like he did this last one to make it a sure thing. The 2014 championship slipped through his grasp in the last races so hopefully he hasn't forgotten that.

He has been on another level so far in the second half of the season, just has to bring it home.

20

This one is done and dusted. Hamilton has all but conceded, you can tell by his attitude at Suzuka.

It's sad to see the title go to a driver that has crossed the boundaries of safety and fair racing so many times in one season. But Rosberg will likely only ever win the title the once and be remembered much like his father, a good but not great driver.

Other than that, this has been another utterly dull season devoid of excitement. It seemed so promising at the start with the noises coming out of Maranello, but Red Bull and Ferrari were still miles behind. Next year may shake up the order but really the question will just be over whose turn it is to dominate.

21

Common Matt Rosberg fully deserves this one if he gets it, Hamilton as well has played dirty in his career yet he always plays the victim, and he's really good at that.

Rosberg has qualified very well, started well and shown great comeback skills, give the guy some credit !

22

I personally think rosberg will win.
Hamilton's lost the plot!
1 he seems to think he's got this Devine right to win.
2 he would do well to remember he is not bigger than the sport.
3 attend press conferences and answer the questions.
Formula 1 survived before him and I'm very sure it will when he's gone.
Lewis is one of 22 Who are very fortunate to be on the grid at any given time.
I'm a Lewis fan I think he's got superb car control and lightning quick but even I'm thinking come on man get a grip!
Rant over
Back to the topic I read some disagree nico doesn't deserve the title this season.
Well I disagree Nico should win the championship on merit due to his professionalism over the course of this season and his application of his conduct during a race weekend.
Looking forward to the 4 races left.
2 wins each I rekon😯

23

" he seems to think he's got this Devine right to win "

This statement is spot on !

24

Plus he (Rosberg) consistently makes better starts, qualifies equally as well (8 pole positions each this year) and doesn't break as many engines and gearboxes.

25

Well if we have to believe certain people ther is still one none-Mercedes win due, so only 75 points available ! ! Still, exiting, bring it on.

26

Don't you mean 93 points?

27

Your comment would suggest that you may have lost the plot.

28

Ok I'm a big Nico fan and think Lewis has been a bit petulant as of late. But, it ain't over until it's over. It's foolish to crown Nico today. There's still a long way to go and one DNF can reset the table

29

Of course it's not over! One DNF for Rosberg and it's back on. He has a nice advantage right now but anything is still possible.

30

The first WDC must be the hardest. Not to get too political but it's interesting to see someone want something so badly......like Hilary and the US presidency. It's like they want it sooo bad that they are in danger of jinxing themselves or making that critical mistake in their desperation. Nico must be feeling the pressure. He seems to be mature and relaxed enough to approach it one race at a time which is surely the best approach. Maybe having a family also has tempered that inclination to mess it up due to the pressure/desperation. I remember when he was in the Williams along side MW and he was definitely a number 2 driver. Boy, he's come a long way to be able to challenge LH so often and be in this position. I'll say it again.....kudos to Toto and the Merc team for giving him equal status. Red Bull could learn a lot from them. Good luck Nico!

31

It’s NEVER over, until it’s ALL OVER.

And no one should know this better than Lewis Hamilton who spectacularly lost the title to Raikkonen in 2007.

He squandered a lead of 17 points in the last 2 races.

Now, 17 points in the old points system will be equal to 42.5 points in the current points scoring system. It was PERHAPS, the biggest “choke” in motorsports history.
Imagine a lead of more than 42 points lost in final two races now !!!!

So, Raikkonen overcame even bigger odds in JUST 2 races.

Hamilton does not even need to look in the past years, but take inspiration from his own run of 4 consecutive wins this year as he scored the max. 100 points and Rosberg could only manage 57 in those 4 races.

So, Hamilton has everything to play for, but needless to say, the next race will be pretty much a MUST WIN for Hamilton.

But, in case, Rosberg wins the next race, then I can’t see Hamilton winning the title.

It would be mathematically still possible, but practically not probable.

And in case, Rosberg wins the next 2 races, and Hamilton fails to finish second in any one of next two races, Rosberg will be crowned champion with 2 races to spare.

____________________________________________

And BTW James , looking forward to FIA’s Thursday’s drivers press conference.

Makes me wonder now, who decides the selection of drivers ??

For me it’s no-brainer, who should be the first driver to be selected for press conference in Austin, specially after snapchat Suzuka.

32

Absolutely great cover picture! The power of a single picture.

Lewis staring in the distance after having suffered two dreadful weekends on and off track. Nico, despite taking a big lead giving him a wary look as if he is thinking "when is he coming back?"

33

Rosberg has driven well all season but he has also ridden his luck all season, all it takes is one bad result for Nico and a good result for Lewis at Austin and its all to play for.

I don't think its a question of if but when Nico starts thinking about the title and whether it will affect his performance. I just hope we get a good close battle to the end of the season... good luck to the both of them!!

34

Lewis's first championship in 2014 was also when Rosberg was riddled with car failure. Swings and roundabouts. As for the question in hand, whilest the others were "against the odds" in terms of points turn around in a season, Mika's championships are the real definition of "against the odds" after what many though should of been a life ending crash in Adelaide 1995, which by some miracle wasn't.

35

Hmm, Hamilton had 3 DNF's in 2014, while Rosberg had 2 DNF's plus the no-score from ERS failure in the last race that year. Hamilton also had issues in two qualifying sessions then, so again it was Hamilton riddled with reliability issues.

If reliability ends up anywhere close between them this season, then Hamilton will win. Just imagine that Nico would have a DNF, then have to start the three other races from P21, P20, and P10, while Lewis gets the free drives from P1, and then try to make the case that Rosberg would still win.

36

KRB, evening out the reliability score now would make it too easy, Lewis would win easily. I'm hoping for perfect reliability on both cars for the run in.

37

Rosberg did have reliability issues in 2014 but Hamilton also had his fair share (see Aus and Can) so you can't really compare 2014 with 2016.

Having said the above I don't want to see either driver have a mechanical failure in the remaining races, given Mercedes' dominance this season the small amount of 1-2's means that the final run of races are anything but a foregone conclusion.

38

Nico has done a great job this year of playing to his strengths. Despite that, he won't have won the WDC on merit. Not when Lewis has had such poor reliability, without which he'd probably be leading.

No matter what you think of Lewis as a person[ality], his driving skills are undisputed by those who know their onions (armchair experts on this site have a right to their opinions of course - I prefer to listen to real experts). If he were to somehow claw this back it would be an amazing end to the season.

Unfortunately, the only way he can do that is if Nico finally gets his share of reliability problems. While this would be "fair," it would still taint Lewis's victory. I'm sure he'd take it though.

I think Nico has been mentally much tougher this year, so unlikely to lose the plot right now and give the title away. He'd have to be denied it, the way Hamilton has been denied.

One way or another, the title will be decided by unreliability rather than by a fair fight.

39

Hamilton needs to figure out his clutch issues. It seriously is a coin toss on if he'll get a good start.

40

Yes, you'd think clutch issues would be given maximum priority at Mercedes considering the vast amount of money spent on gaining 10ths of a second on lap times.

41

I agree with many of your points but....
It is F1!
When has "fair" ever been involved 😉
Plenty of previous WDCs have gone to the driver with the luck and persistence to make sure they made the most of their competitors bad days.

42

Reliablity and clutches. That really has been the defining factor of this season.

43

Maybe it's which driver is better at preserving the mechanicals.

44

Gary is still stuck in 1970's F1, so please excuse him. It's just a reflex muttering.

45

KRB, Ha ha, maybe he thinks Lewis missed a shift and buzzed the engine in Sepang!

46

Seriously, you guys truly believe that a driver can't make a mistake, ignore warnings and damage an MGU-H, that's fairyland stuff. It's ever so easy, harvest too long at too high an rpm and damage an MGU-H, drain the batteries too deep and cause a failure due to overheating, run too long in "qualifying mode" because you can't overtake otherwise. Causing and then ignoring overheat warnings in the MGU-K can also cause issues with the MGU-H as they are electronically connected.

Evidence, well Hamilton has chewed through 4 x MGU-H's if I remember rightly, two of them in qualifying and the fact is there is only one difference between his units and the other 7, that's Hamilton himself. Keeping in mind that Hamilton has had first access to the upgraded version (Spanish GP). "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".

Why don't Mercedes blame the driver if it is truly his fault? Do they really want to peeee off the multiple WDC driver? Politically much easier to say it's unexplained, a mystery, bad luck etc.

47

Gary, look up how many DNF's each driver has, from mechanical faults. Lewis is near the bottom percentage wise ... I think only Bottas and Ricciardo are lower. Doesn't really fit into your forced narrative, does it?

As for the MGU-H, you do realize that it failed on an out lap, right? It was a faulty insulation layer.

Why would Hamilton ignore engine warnings? His engineer would warn him about anything critical if it even came to that.

Your whole shtick is just amateur hour. You see a tiny pattern, and you extrapolate from that to brand Hamilton a car breaker. It's just beyond silly.

It belongs on this site: http://tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations

48

Gary, I think you are the one living in fairyland. Where did you get that information, these cars are designed to protect themselves from driver error, I have never heard any expert speak on the subject who thought there was anything the driver can do to damage them. Qualifying mode is controlled by the pit wall, they tell the drivers when and for how long they can be used, the failures on Lewis' MGUH were traced to faulty insulation, difficult to see how that's possibly a driver induced failure. Just because you want something to be true, doesn't mean it is.

49

Fully agree with timW. Hamilton's most recent failure came when he was under no pressure whatsoever.
I think maybe Hamilton's insecure about having his crew changed prior to the start of this season and subsequently finding a lack of reliability. He knows that if, or more probably when, Rosberg wins the title it'll be down to having a more reliable car.

50

Slightly bizarre that people are concluding that 'Lewis has lost it' whilst 'Nico has been driving like a champion'. And yet, if you took out the Malaysia retirement and assumed Lewis would have won (which he would), there'd be barely anything between them.

Do the mechanical gods even things out over the next few races? I somehow doubt it. But to be honest, I think Hamilton needs this low point as part of his greater journey. Finish the season, do some soul searching, and grow from it. At least that's the idea.

51

I think Lewis was in a poor state of mind at Suzuka and just didn't have have chance to reset after the disappointment of Sepang. He needs to use this short break before Austin to realize the Championship is out of his hands and all he can do is try to win the remaining races and hope that Nico falters somewhere along the way.

Nico on the other hand has to continue with current mindset and focus on each race as a singular event, he appears to be doing this well when hes driving out front but when he's behind (Malaysia) and trying to drive through the field to catch up some of his moves are questionable and puts his car at risk of not finishing (ala Raikkonen Malaysia).

I hope we get a great battle for the championship!!

52
Tornillo Amarillo

Love this article Alex. Yeah, Lewis is still on, but what is him suffering clutch and PU problems? Someday we'll know.

Congrats to Max and RENAULT PU! defending from Mercedes. Good job. Maybe Hulk is right to go to Renault team, I back that move, fresh aire is what he needs.

53

All the current champions in the grid have exactly the same number of championships as they have wins in Japan. When I see stats like these you know that the inevitable will happen and Rosberg will be World Champion.

Hamilton 3 WDC, 3 wins (2007, 2014, 2015)
Alonso 2 WDC, 2 wins (2006, 2008)
Vettel 4 WDC, 4 wins (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)
Button 1 WDC, 1 win (2011)
Kimi 1 WDC, 1 win (2005)

54

I remember vaguely the first triumph of Ferrari in the new millennium. At that moment I was gutted as Mika lost the battle, I never thought that could happen. The McLaren in clean air in Pit straight will be thundering down in Mika hands but that comes with exploding engine, yes they were made by the same team Lewis is now (I was not allowed to keep even medium level of volume in tele, today that's not a problem)
May be those engines had only two settings on race day namely ON and OFF.
Now they are called SPICY... EXOTIC... words fits to only to some [Mod]

Then the red car was going around and around until a very serious looking mono syllabic kido moved to McLaren, still engines exploded, wish born failed, brakes crumbled what not.

So gremlins could creep into any part of the car not necessarily engine
even to the steering wheel electrical (Singa 2014)
A simple stopwatch might not start. (they could afford Rolex right? But casio works for me)
On a bad day back marker could become blue color blind.
Clutch might bite the driver instead
Oh I miss Maldonado a lot, someone could take his role.

It could happen to any car, especially when they are at sharp end of the grid

Full 100 points is there to be taken by anybody in any slice. Hope it goes till Abu Dhabi with box office hit.

55

In the context of the 2016 drivers championship lead swings, between the two Merc (MMC) drivers, and the DNF history of the season, it is ridiculous to say that the season's WDC is over.
A single DNF by Rosberg would likely mean a net gain by Hamilton of 25 points, changing the complexion of the championship to an 8 point differential with 75 points remaining.
Rosberg could have a failure, due to no fault of his own, and back into the intense pressure of a tight race.
What Rosberg should do, to maximize his chances, is hunkerdown, keep his nose clean, manage the equipment, so that he puts minimal stress on the car/engine, and be willing to take a comparatively easy second in each race.
Play it safe...
... and maximize the probability for winning the championship.

But in the context of the Mercedes Managed Championship, I see great potential for equipment failure on the Rosberg side of the garage, in America.

Otherwise, why watch for the remaining three races?
Effectively closing the championship with three races remaining would deflate the corporation's return of their massive F1 investment, which would definitely NOT be kosher.
So expect a Merc DNF early on, or a 'required' engine component change to compromise Nico's race.

56

So what are you saying - that there will be a Merc conspiracy against Nico? I must have missed something - there was me thinking it was against Lewis 😉

57

Of course if there's a DNF for Nico then Lewis would likely be right back in it. That's a very big if. Malaysia was a real kick in the teeth for Lewis, as he was tops all weekend. It definitely knocked him off his game for Japan too.

To get the win you need 1) good qualifying, 2) good start, 3) good first laps, 4) good race pace, 5) good pit stops, and 6) good reliability. Since the summer break, Hamilton hasn't had a single race where all those elements were present. Last time was Germany. He needs to have them all in Austin, and beyond.

Meanwhile, Nico's qualified on the front row for every race this year. His only grid penalty was for a gearbox in Austria.

Absent car trouble for Nico, I think this one is done. Lewis' start troubles will happen at least one more time, and that's one time too many.

58

I agree. Lewis didn't recover from Malaysia and his Snapchat tomfoolery exposed it - trying too hard to be cool. However, on race day beyond the start he was on form. The 0.016 that Nico beat Lewis by in quali made a massive difference in the end. I just hope we get clean wheel to wheel racing between them.

59

Nico has it in the bag, he can afford a DNF and still win it.
Lewis lifestyle really has seemed to catch up on him, [Mod]

But for me the biggest shame about 2016 has been the rule change regarding the double clutch.
Yes I agree, I thought it be great and mix things up, but in reality all it has done has robbed us of some great wheel to wheel action between the two dominant cars, Mercedes.
We have literally not seen Lewis and Nico battle each other all season apart from the few times they've crashed.
It's the only thing that makes such a dominant period interesting.
Just a shame next year it will be Red Bull that are dominating, hopefully we get to see Max and Dan have a great battle..

60

"in reality all it has done has robbed us of some great wheel to wheel action between the two dominant cars", I would suggest that it has shown which driver can manage the difficult clutch better than the other. The winner is the one with the more all round driving skill.

61

Personally I don't find a clutch-handling contest all that inspiring. I'd rather watch them race closely than have so much riding on the first few seconds.

62

Exactly. Say a track has 18 corners ... that's 18x a lap where the drivers need to use driving skill to get through the corner fastest. Multiply that by 60 laps say, and that's 960 moments where drivers can differentiate between each other. Yet now the one moment at the start is having a more important impact than the 900+ that follow ... that's not right.

63

The answer is no, but I think we should look at it a different way : Can Lewis afford another DNF and still be in contention ? I believe not, whereas Nico would still be in contention after a DNF.
After 2014 and 2015 , I am still expecting LH to come back and /or Nico to choke, but it's still very open.

Side note : I will be in hong kong during the next GP, is F1 available on TV (hotel TV ?)...if someone knows, i would like not to miss the race!!

64

No question Nico will be a worthy champion, no matter how some consider Lewis' lack of fortune. Luck is part of life, Lewis benefited greatly to get his titles too. And it is good for the sport, many are fed up with LH antics, I may be wrong but F1 will be a better place without this guy. It is so much talent around waiting to bloom. I wish I could see Sainz or Vettel in Mercedes, or why not Max or Ricci.

65

For me Nico has had this title ever since he became a father. I've seen it many times over the years in many different people,they have a kid and they get this injection of something extra. (Granted not all,some run a mile from their responsibility).
As for comebacks......Lewis on Nico in 2014 was a good one. Could he do it?

66

I do not mind either of them winning, but what I would love to see is the equal number of technical issues between the two of them.

67

I became an F1 fan because I l came to love the sport itself. The technical nature of F1 to me is worth all the other rubbish that always seems to plague this sport. This also mean I try as much as possible to stay away from idolizing individual drivers except when they produce something special in the car. In 21 years of watching F1, I have come to realize that each season produces a driver who is possessed with a certain excellence that even luck and fate appear to bend to his will. That is how I would characterize Lewis 2015 season and Nico 2016 season. Based on that, I believe this years race is over from a championship point of view. Nico had that "thing" that no one can explain. You witnessed it in Malaysia - a rear end collision, locked brakes and 180 degree wheel spin without flat-spotted tires, no additional contact through a tight corner, a contact with another car, ten second penalty, your teammates car explodes and you end up on the podium!!! - EXPLAINABLE LUCK.
Mercedes management should now only be thinking about next year's car and Nico's 33 points advantage should help them to do just that. The team would be stupid to let their drivers go through a death match rather than concentrate on 2017 aerodynamic and mechanical performance tests. No team in the modern history of F1 has emerged from two significant rule changes as a dominant team, and we know the Silver Arrows love their records. So Mercedes must now instruct their drivers they have to survive on what they have now, there will be no attempt to help either driver find extra performance or victories as the season in over. Stuttgart should demand it, and the 1,000s of people who work Brackley and Brixworth should focus on it. That means Lewis and Nico must be conservative in their approach over the next 4 races to make sure their power units get to the end of the season. I am sure Lewis would like to win a few races just to prove he is still focus, but those are meaningless "moral victories" because all Nico has do is turn the engine down and pick up the 28 points on the table from 2nd place and still claim his WDC. Further more looking at the remaining tracks, all should play to the strength of the current car unless bad weather helps Red Bull or Ferrari to challenge Mercedes the rest of the way. In addition, we have been told the overall feel of the cars will change dramatically in 2017 and the expected new "more difficult" cars will alter how all drivers approach racing. I would love to see a Mercedes fight, but from a team point of view what's the point really?

68

@Frederick

You wrote a fascinating first paragraph. Good read. +1 for that.

Talking about last 20 years, If I may add :

Jenson Button had “THAT thing” in 2009.
As did Sebastian Vettel in 2012 or Fernando Alonso in 2006....

Maybe Mika in 1998 as well.

As you mentioned, “each season produces a driver who is possessed with a certain excellence that even luck and fate appear to bend to his will”.

I hope people do read that line and also realize how finer the margins are among the top drivers.
Any year, for the eventual winner the competitive edge might be coming from brakes, better understanding tyres, adapting his driving style better to the changes to the car etc..

It might down to be even better coping with the clutch sytem. !!!!

Karan Chandok (when he was commentating for C4) revealed the chat he had with Pirelli to find out the driver how practiced the starts the most during pre-season testing.
It was Nico Rosberg !!!

69

That the outcome of this year's WDC could be down to a clutch, so badly constructed that the driver's gloves have to be designed especially to operate it, is without a doubt the most ludicrious F1 tale I have ever heard. How could one of the largest vehicle manufacturers 'in the world' (think Clerkson) find it impossible to design one of the most basic parts of a car! You can't tell me Mercedes cannot build and test a clutch that works. Why don't they throw a few quid at Williams or Force India and buy one that will get their cars off the line.

70

@ rodger,,,,yes, that is a question that i have posed many times. They are currently running a TV promo supporting the release of the new CLA and they top and tail with 'the best or nothing' motherhood statement which is quite humorous considering their clutch failures! To even suggest the the glove stitching was an impediment is too silly for words? Mercedes have 1500 people in their team as quoted by wolff, and no doubt some the most talented F1 engineers in the world but other teams of lesser magnitude don't seem to be having the same problems!!! Why ?

71

I imagine it's because they're pushing the envelope.

72

One of the few sensible posts. So merc can design a killer car but cannot design a reliable, workable clutch, really!! Is there another merc engined team on the grid that has to rework the drivers gloves. This one item, above all the other problems hamilton has had to endure, may cost him a championship. Your telling me that with all the complicated updates they have brought to the cars that they couldn't fix a clutch. This has been a very strange year for the battle between the two merc driver. Somehow merc has managed (Except for two races, one where they managed to crash into each other and the other where nico tried hard to crash) they have had no real race long battles. That for me has been the biggest disapointment.

73

@ stan...Thank you for the compliment. I have been thinking that something doesn't sit right with all this 'clutch' argy bargy. Wolff says 'we don't know where the problem is' ? This being the case and knowing of the absolute engineering might of mercedes to solve this 'anomaly' it would appear that the best question is, 'is there a problem with the clutch at all'?

When 1500 personnel and the combined engineering genius of so many engineers can, at best, come up with a 'restitching' of the drivers gloves it becomes simply laughable!!!! The 'best [gloves] or nothing' is th new mantra.

74

Nico's car seems to get off the line OK.

75

Petaj, apart from when it doesn't! How many times has Nico lost positions off the start this year?

76

Precisely Roger R
Mercedes precise German engineering and clutch probably made in China
(the rear end of manufacturing cheap and not so cheerful think Samsung have realised this too late).
Mercedes clutch balls up is shockingly bad and poor for marketing .

77

Considering how many times this year Hamilton has come from further down the grid (or the back) to the podium and Nico's recovery in Malaysia I'd have to disagree with the assessment that the Mercedes "struggle to get back past their competitors",

78

The battle was almost completely lost after Sepang. Of the 5 remaining tracks (after Sepang) Nico has been on pole at them at EVERY race since the inception of the Hybrid era.

He did surprisingly well to get within a whisker of Nico's qualifying time at Suzuka, but really, that was a must win race.

We said after Singapore that Sepang and Suzuka would be decisive to see where the championship was heading. Well it certainly was.

I can only hope that Nico has a power unit failure during a race, and then has to take a penalty for a new one at the subsequent race. But really, there's no reason why Nico is any more likely at having a failure than Lewis is.

79

The way the race was being reported, with the title being in the bag for Rosberg, I thought Hamilton had DNF'd (I missed the race as I was on holiday, though am aiming to catch some highlights soon) again. But 33 points is still all to play for with 100 left on the table. Certainly you'd rather be in Rosberg's position, but Hamilton is still very much in the fight.

I think this article pinpoints why, focusing on the starts and also on reliability; a DNF could easily swing things one way or another, and we know the Mercedes can struggle in dirty air (though both Nico and Lewis have cut through the field well in recent races).

Japan was a strange weekend for Lewis though. I wonder if his hunger has dipped for the moment, perhaps partly weighed down by the DNFs. He's still got time to get it back definitely, but more weekends like Singapore and Japan would definitely make Rosberg's job easier, if Nico continues hitting the standards he made at those races.

80

The Nico has already won it hyperbolic media stories. He'll probably have a DNF then not have enough points margin come the end. He needs a couple more wins, then Rosberg will be in touching distance.

As for the driver who wins the first X number of races goes on to win the championship, or a driver who wins 8 or more races wins it, in a two horse race of the largest calendar going, the first point is not really valid. Then the 8 races one, Lewis can win 8 races as well!

As for luck, when Hamilton has had penalties, China was the worst. A lot of the field wiped itself out the way at Russia, and Belgium was the same, while Monaco was Ricciardo bad luck. Malaysia was a real race DNF which was his greatest misfortune. Bahrain bad luck was contact with Bottas, but fortunate to have a car so quick he took advantage of a Vettel/Ferrari failure to make the podium.

Rosberg has had some bad luck in Great Britain, Malaysia as well (but not as bad as Hamilton). His stupid move at Austria was also bad luck, in that he got serious car damage. Then there was coming up against Verstappen with dying brakes in Canada, and also a broken stopwatch and borderline Verstappen defending in Germany which kept him from recovering from his own poor getaway.

I think Nico's favourite turn of phrase, "momentum", will shift towards Lewis for the final few races, and he will go on to win a fourth WDC.

81

It ain't over tell the chubby lady... Rosberg has been doing exactly what he needs to do, and to be fair to him it not his fault he has not had much competion. So let's see what happens in the coming four races. What I find odd though are comments questioning Hamilton state of mind. Which race where those people watching? He qualifies 0.013 seconds behind his team mate, just try to start and stop your I-thingy stop watch in that period, it'll give you an indication of how close it was. He has a bad start and all of a suden his head not in the right place. What!!! Utter rubbish. His pace especially on the hards at Suzuka suggested he had the pace to win, yes we'll never know for certain, but he looked fairly on it to me. I'm looking forward to the next few races and let's hope we finally get to see them battle it out in track.

82

Nico will win it, then paddy and lewis will be off for an Italian.

83

I've no idea who will win the WDC. It's too close to call. As others have said, a DNF one way or the other can swing it either way, bringing Hamilton closer to contention (he's still in contention of course), or enabling Rosberg to build a bigger cushion. I'd like Rosberg to win it. He's worked hard to raise his game this season.

84

its either rosberg or hamilton. 50-50. no other choice.

85

Here's my 'prediction'...

Lewis dominates the weekend in the USA, where he's done well in the past. He comfortably wins, Nico comes home second. The points gap goes down to 26.

In Mexico, Rosberg is doing well in a race that he won last year, but Mercedes reliability strikes again, this time for Nico, and his engine explodes. Hamilton inherits the win, there's now only 1 point in Rosberg's favour with 2 races to go.

Brazil is a rain hit race, and the two Mercedes drivers collide into the first corner. Riccardo takes the lead, Nico only loses one place but the damage prevents him from challenging for the win, and he finishes second. Lewis has to pit for a new nose, but fights his way back up to third in drying conditions. Nico regains 6 points and is up to 7 points ahead.

The season finale in Abu Dhabi is suitably boring and uneventful. Hamilton nails pole, and Rosberg has no opportunity to challenge in the race. They finish with a 1-2, leaving them with an identical points tally! What are the chances?

Of course, on countback... they'd both have 9 wins in this scenario. In fact, they'd have the same number of second places too. Lewis would clinch it with four third places to Nico's 1.

The closest championship in F1 history? Still don't think it would make an exciting movie...

86

Hamilton only won in Texas last year after he deliberately forced Rosberg off the track . Then threw his hat at him, which was the point at which Rosberg had had enough. Hamilton has plenty to regret from that race meeting, he lit the fire.

87

Gary, it's funny what people remember, and what they forget about races depending on their point of view isn't it?

88

Rosberg was still leading the race, long after the first lap, first corner incident. It was the "gust of wind" remember, that blew him off the track. That was a weird episode.

89

You would need Lewis to come 4th, not 3rd, in Brazil for your equal points scenario to come to pass. Not sure how that would then affect the countback.

90

After Hamilton's arrogant, ignorant and embarrassing attitude to the drivers press conference I have lost all interest in him. The rest of the drivers looked embarrassed as well. So go on Nico finish the job and get yourself a championship.

91

JAWA your comment that 2007 was the biggest choke of all time.....you seem to be pointing that at Lewis.....where you even alive then? McLaren screwed up winning the WC for Lewis by keeping him out on badly worn tires trying desperately to win it all in that China race.....and the next race car problems screwed up his race. The choke was by McLaren. Lewis missed the WC by one point in his first year in F1 competing against a two time world champion......nobody has come as close as that before in the history of F1. But for his team he could already be a four time WC. When you write stuff on here base it on reality and not your fantasy.

92

@ David

Thanks for your comment.

Just to remove any doubt in your mind, I was indeed labeling 2007 as a “choke” and pointing that to Lewis and to certain extent to McLaren as well.

You are entitled to your opinion and so am I.

In China 2007, all Hamilton needed to do was finish P5, and yet He lost the car entering the pitlane !!! (I guess, that happens quite often.)
I guess, I must have missed all the radio message of Hamilton requesting the team to pit earlier !!!

But, I would recommend you to watch at least the first lap of 2007 Brazilian GP and see how a “supremely”confident Hamilton, without showing any pressure, first allows Raikkonen through and then gets overtaken by Alonso.

And when Hamilton attempts ovetake around the outside of Alonso,(what was it turn 4, if I remember correctly), locks up heavily and takes a “serene measured” drive around the track limits of the circuit (simply to check the greenery, I guess) to allow 3 more cars through. And he was P8 already by the end of lap 1.

But, I guess that must have been a “higher force” or team sabotaging his driving via a remote control in the pit-lane.

The gear box problem only struck him after 6 or 7 laps, after that if I’m not wrong. And mind you there were media reports suggesting, it was actually Hamilton who pressed a wrong button !! Those reports were, of course, rubbished by McLaren..

The funny thing is he almost did it AGAIN in 2008 !!! When Vettel driving a Torro Rosso, (yes a Torro Rosso) overtook him, but thankfully we had a certain Timo Glock on dry weather tyres out there.

Personally, I haven’t seen a bigger choke than 2007. In case, you have, feel free to highlight it to me , the example of any driver loosing a lead equivalent to 42 points (current system) in a matter of final 2 races..

I have no doubt, Lewis must have grown stronger from his experiences of 2007 and 2008.
And I certainly have no doubt, he is capable of winning 4 races in a row like he has showed this year in July.

But, like any other driver, he is human and is susceptible to pressure. But, I guess, for his fans, it will always be the team to blame, never him...!!!

All the title wins are down to Hamilton and failure to win is down to teams ??? Isn't it?

93

Re: the first lap of Brazil 2007, Alonso brake-tests him heading into turn 4. So he had to bail so as not to be out right there. Being P8 at the end of lap 1 would've been fine, he could have easily got to the P5 he needed from there. Then the odd gearbox gremlins set in ... do you not wonder about the timing there? That was beyond weird ... he needed to go through an entire reset procedure.

As for China, that's at McLaren's door. There was no need to stay out so long, others had switched to dry tires laps before and were benefitting. Should have been an easy call. Dennis in trying to win it all there, lost it all.

94

Re : the first lap of Brazil 2007, he did NOT need to overtake Alonso at all, after he already messed up his own start. A cooler, calmer mind would have assessed that.

Funny, you mentioned about how Hamilton needed to go through an entire reset procedure, when according some of the media reports after the race , that gremlin was triggerred by Hamilton himself.
But , (as expected), McLaren denied that. And to this day, the electronic glitch remains a mystery !!!

As for China 2007, my mistake. Apologies !

I completely forgot to recall the part of the race where Ron Dennis was driving the McLaren and slid wide while entering the pitlane. So, obviously it’s 100 % Ron Dennis’s fault. Like I mentioned, it happens all the time.
Driver’s lose the car while entering pit-lane. Even when the tyres are punctured or just 3 wheels left, it’s COMMON for driver’s to loose the car entering the pitlane.
So, no question arises for Ron Dennis to take a cautious approach for entering the pit-lane on worn tyres. No nerves there at all !!!!

But funny enough, following were the words of a certain Lewis Hamilton (who obviously was on the pit-wall, instead of driving the car), in the immediate aftermath of the race :

“Prior to entering the pit lane for my last stop I was constantly talking to the team. Although my tyres were in poor condition we took a joint decision to get through the last rain shower before changing to dry tyres. I was trying to be very careful…”

"When I was out of the car I was just gutted because it was MY first mistake all year and to do it on the way into the pits was not something I usually do,You cannot go through life without making mistakes. But I am over it and we look forward to Brazil. We still have points in the bag."

But, how dare I even entertain the thought of Hamilton feeling the pressure of championship fight and make some mistakes as a result of it ?? Isn’t it ?

As, was evident next year in Brazil 2008, Hamilton with his calm controlled driving was always in control, and letting a Torro Ross through was part of his grand awareness of Timo Glock up in front on dry weather tyres ...!!

I can tell you, if he brings the same confidence of the last 2 races of 2007, to the next two races this year, then good luck to him ....

May the “HIGHER” forces be with him.

95

Jawa, Hamilton wasn't trying to overtake Alonso then ... Alonso slowed big time, trying to get Hamilton to hit his back and break his nose.

Re: Hamilton’s statements, I'm glad you at least did some legwork. What's Hamilton going to say there? He trusted the team, he was a rookie. He had already gone off at turn 1 in the laps before pitting ... it was a stupid and unnecessary gamble from the team.

http://m.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/170171/hamilton-was-out-a-lap-too-long-whitmarsh/

"McLaren F1 boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted his team left Hamilton out on track a lap too long and that pushed his tyres past their limit."

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2007/10/07/team-and-driver-errors-caused-hamiltons-retirement/

To read that now, and see the chunks of time he was losing, and that they still didn't call him in, it seems rather strange. Sebee has a theory that McLaren scuppered both drivers, because they were made to throw the titles to Ferrari because of the Spygate affair. Not sure about that, but only waiting until you're losing 7.7 secs in one lap to the sister car before calling him in?!? That's very odd.

Re: the gearbox gremlins, I would like to know what a driver would need to do to require a full reset. It shouldn't be possible for that to ever happen through driver input.

I didn't intend to write so much, 'cos I thought your reply was needlessly long and didn’t want to replicate that, but here we are. Apologies.

96

I'm glad to see ,that you were glad to see the legwork. Oops !!

But, a little disappointed that you have not bothered to read Hamilton's statement in the link submitted by YOU yourself.

In fact, the link you submit is titled - team AND DRIVER ERRORS that caused retirement....

Do I need to say anything more ?

Here was a driver who lost the car entering the pitlane, made a mess of his opening lap in finale and yet it’s difficult for you to fathom that he made a few mistakes and was perhaps feeling the heat of championship fight. ??

And the reasoning you come up with suggesting notions of deliberate sabotage by the team to it’s own drivers!!!
(God,,, “someone and something” never wants him to win)

17 points (which is equal to 42.5 now) lost in the last 2 races was a monumental choke.

But, I guess for some fans, it’s never Hamilton and always the team to blame.

97

Hmm, why would you assume that I had not read it? I read both links, but unlike you I don't just grab onto the one quote out of 10 that fits my argument, and then declare victory like some fool.

Read all the quotes from all sources. Now, having read them all, which "sound" more like the real situation? Perhaps the quote from Whitmarsh that they had all the weather info, and were telling Hamilton to stay out? This does require some honest critical thinking, rather than soundbite hunting.

Did Hamilton make a mistake going in too hot, into the pit entry lane? He sure did, but for me he should never have been in that position to begin with! The team should have pitted him 2-3 laps earlier. They wanted their cake and to eat it too, but sometimes you have to bag the bird in hand.

As for Brazil, I guess for you every driver should be ready for a brake test from their teammate?!

TimW, you were right. 😕

98

Firstly, you are the one who interjected in my reply to someone else. Now, it’s a bit desperate for you to seek approval from buddies and call others fools !!

Suggesting that Alonso wanted Hamilton to crash into the back of his car, (and in the process jeopardizing his own chances of winning the championship) does not sound very intelligent to me or "honest critical thinking" (and then you have the temerity to call others fool !!!)

I suggest you watch the opening lap again to see how closely Hamilton was following Alonso on the straight leading to turn 4.

In fact, Hamilton even CONTINUES to follow Alonso when Alonso moves to cover the inside line, and yet you say he was not attempting to overtake him ?
In fact, if you listen to James’s commentary, he described the move desperate and Martin Brundle suggesting exactly, what I did that “Hamilton did not need to do that”.

Re: China 2007, I’m glad that you finally have figured out, (to use your phrases) “ that Hamilton sure did make a mistake going in too hot into pit lane .”

Let me simplify even further for you, McLaren strategy would have costed Hamilton his win or at worst his podium finish.

It was HAMILTON who was driving the car, it was HIS mistake entering the pit-lane that resulted in DNF.

Even if he had taken 10 more seconds to make that entry, he would probably have been champion.

Perhaps, it’s complete anathema for you to entertain the notion of your favourite driver making a mistake or two, or feeling the pressure of championship fight.

Irony is that I was using the example of 2007 to suggest how there’s everything to play for this year. And how Hamilton instead needs to produce his form of July this year,
but, hey, how dare someone even say the obvious that 2007 was a “choke”.

Please, check what “choke” means in sports terminology. One of the definitions you will see will be-
A player or a team who had squandered a large lead in the late stages of the event.

99

Hmm, so if a driver has say a slow puncture, and a team says stay out, and then there's a blowout, that's still ALL on the driver? Interesting. McLaren deserve no blame, or just minor blame for leaving him out too long? In my opinion they deserve the majority of the blame. It was a needless and reckless strategy.

Re: Brazil 2007 start, here's a vid:

https://youtu.be/9mMEQm46loE" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">https://youtu.be/9mMEQm46loE

Start at 3:52. Hamilton keeping in Alonso's slipstream on the run down to Turn 4 is totally normal racing. I don't get how you think that shows he was hellbent on passing Alonso there. Then Alonso brakes far before the normal braking point, far ahead of where the two Ferrari's had, so Hamilton swings out to avoid a collision. Dennis is moments later asked by the pit reporter about it, to which Dennis smiles "just checking the brakes".

You just need to watch the start of Belgium 2007 to see what Alonso was willing to do at that point in McLaren.

Here's another vid of the gearbox gremlins:

https://youtu.be/9mMEQm46loE" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">https://youtu.be/9mMEQm46loE

His movements on the steering wheel look pretty innocuous to me. He went to downshift as per normal, and then everything's gone. He lost comfortably 30 secs there. Still all on Hamilton though, let's remember.

I know what a choke is in sporting terms, thanks. You put it all on Lewis, I put the majority of the fault on factors out of his control. That's where we disagree. I don't think it's fair to lay it all at Lewis' door; you think it's more than fair. Again, we'll agree to disagree.

It's been illuminating Jawa. Now to your last word ...

100

Funny, that in your excitement, you have posted the same video twice. Never mind, I have watched the Brazil 2007 start far too many times now !!

Hmm....Fact Check - In China 2007, neither Hamilton had a slow puncture nor a tyre blow-out (thankfully no Pirellis then). So, I don’t get your attempt of diversion by saying, “IF a driver has SAY a slow puncture.....”

And BTW, I have already provided you what Hamilton said after the incident which shows he was very much PART of that RISKY strategy.

Or maybe he was telling YET another lie !!!!

I tell you what has been “illuminating” is your realisation from -

“As for China, that's at McLaren's door” ---to finally be able to figure out --“Did Hamilton make a mistake going in too hot, into the pit entry lane? He sure did.”

What I see here is, you being confused in your own cobwebs of arguments. Case in point is your ASSUMPTION that I “lay it ALL at Lewis’ door”.

Here, I would suggest you to take a step back and KINDLY read the first 3 lines of my post that you chose to reply, when I said to David that I was pointing it to “ Lewis AND to certain extent to McLaren AS WELL.”

I wanted to rebut your argument about Brazil 2007 turn 4 incident, but, hey !!
What’s the point when you can’t even fathom how Hamilton was trying to regain his position back !!!!!

On one hand you want to argue how Hamilton was never trying to overtake and yet, you can’t even notice how he continues to follow Alonso when Alonso dives to cover inside line whereas all the other drivers stick to the “normal” racing line for that corner.

To me the whole first lap of Lewis was reminder of an English saying, “running around like a head-less chicken”.

Finally, I was amused to read your comment seeking “my LAST word”.... Yeah !!! Right....as if it will enlighten you to view things dispassionately and without being a Hamilton fan.

Trust me, I try to restrict my replies here to posts which I find interesting. I do read many comments and have definitively noticed the fan club where everyone nods “aye, aye” in agreement to hail “Sir Hamilton”.
May be try to view 2007, not as a “Hamilton fan”, then you will realise last 2 races were “one hell of a screw up” unparalleled in F1 history in which pressure and nerves of Hamilton, did play its part.
Enjoy the US GP and rest of the season ....

101

Why didn't Lewis tell the team his tyres were in a bad way. Or drive in a way that made the tyres last, like Alonso did.

102

He did tell the team. Their Bridgestone rep was apparently pleading with them to bring him in.

Alonso's tires were 4 laps newer, and he pitted 3 laps after Lewis went out.

You really should do some back-checking before spouting stuff, don't ya think? Might help.

103
Berk in the Merc

Yes but he did'nt wear then down to the canvas. He could have went on for more laps. He pitted at the opportune time for his race. Lewis had to pit because he couldn't do another lap.

104

KRB, you are wasting your time. People like this aren't interested in inconvenient facts.

105

Yeah, McLaren blew that one for Hamilton. There is much wrong with Briatore, but in that instance he would've for sure played it conservatively, and bag decent points. Brawn would've done the same too.

5 pts from 4th were easy pickings, and that would've eliminated Kimi, and meant that Alonso had to win in Brazil. Given that the Ferrari's owned Brazil that year, it would've been title to Hamilton.

106

I am going for Rosberg. In 2010, my heart sank when Webber lost the Championship... not to mention the next few years. Rosberg reminds me of a similar situation - He is just the underdog and I really hope he gets up. I really do.
(I am not saying either is a bad or good driver either, not looking to insight an argument. Just like the fact that Rosberg is right there.... that's all).

107

Reminds me of Webber too, and I think he'll lose the lead just the same. This year is going to be the high point of Rosberg's career, most likely, whatever happens.

108

Everyone likes a trier. No need to explain, I get it.

109

Mechanical failures or a wet weather race could turn the whole thing upside down. Whatever happens, I hope it will be exciting and that it will be a great battle. I don't think it's over.

110

Before the season started most people thought it was Lewis’s title to lose. How prophetic they may turn out to be.

I don’t catalogue race by race data but feels to me that Nico has rarely made costly mistakes this season. He’s had races, Monaco for example where he was nowhere in changeable conditions and looked average at best, but for the most part he’s been consistently good – sometimes great.

Ignore Lewis’s mechanical failures because if he could get the car off the line we wouldn’t be talking about them and he’d be much closer in points. Lewis has had mechanical issues but he’s also caused himself a load of problems or had bad race weekends. He’s had periods of sublime brilliance but usually book-ended by very poor races.

Lewis needs to put in back to back faultless weekends until the end of the season and based on his form this season I don’t see that happening. Even if he does Nico will be there or there abouts and still take the title.

Unless of course a Austin and Brazil are wet races…

111

Agent Orange. Ignore Lewis' reliability problems? Hmm, I can see it suits your purpose to do that, but really it is the main reason for Nico's lead, a 25 point loss at Sepang along with a handy couple of points for Nico can't really be ignored can it? Even if we forget the races Lewis had to start at the back and the poor starts, removing that one failure would cut Nico's lead from 33 points to five!

112

Presumably you didn't watch any races before Sepang, if you did you would note that Lewis won 6 out of 7 around mid season so his form has shown he already put in 'back to back wins' and he is capable of doing so again.

Probably worth checking the facts before writing utter drivel #justsaying

113

Whoa! Calm down there BigBadBear. :o)

You'll remember those 6 out of 7 were preceeded by 0 wins and ended by a poor start in Monza with the disastrous weekend of Baku in the middle.

With a dominant pole position he gifted Nico the win in Monza. Nico didn't beat Lewis in Monza, Lewis lost the race through a mistake.

Baku - people talk about the engine mode but had he not made mistakes in qualifying he wouldn't have been starting from 10th in the first place.

Not suggesting Lewis isn't capable of back to back wins!

I am suggesting his form is erratic this season. Either sublime brilliance or near disastrous weekends.

Of course Lewis is capable of winning the remain last four races, qualifying on pole and with fastest lap too. But this season you just 'know' he's going to mess up a quali or start and gift a race to Nico.

And that is what this season will go down as - one that Lewis gifted to Nico. Nico has made no mistakes that I can recall. Certainly none that cost him dearly that I can think of.

Lewis has made mistakes that have cost him dearly. Mechanical issues aside without his own mistakes he'd be leading the WDC right now CupCakeBear.

114

His 6 of 7 was followed by Spa... really need to check those facts again.

Rosberg has made mistakes, see Spain, Monaco, Canada, Britain, Germany, Austria, Malaysia.

While Lewis has had some bad races, Nico has had plenty of bad weekends which he might encounter again in the next 4 races.

115

@TimW A fair point and ignoring mechanical would be churlish. There is no doubt those issues, especially early in the season, played a big part in hand the initiative to Nico. What I am suggesting though is despite great efforts to pull it back Lewis has then often caused his own problems handing it back to Nico.

@Vanilla Not suggesting Nico has never made a mistake - I am suggesting any mistake he's made hasn't been that costly. Spain both drivers lost out so kind of negates the impact.

Lewis Hamilton - 180 odd races, 49 wins and 3 WDC. Clearly a brilliant driver.

The last 3 seasons driving the best car on the grid by quite a margin. Never had more than 5 consecutive wins in his career.

In the similar situation Vettel has 9 consecutive wins. Schumacher 7 - and this was when there were less races to win in a season.

So I'll still maintain, that despite all Hamilton's brilliance (and he is a brilliant driver), he's not as consistent nor dominating as his ability suggests he should be.

At his best he completely destroys Nico but this season he hasn't been at his best on too many occasions.

116

I am no fan of Hamilton and will prefer NR to win, but I don't think Rosberg's name will appear on the WDC cup ... he just does not have what it takes to be WDC. IMHO
If I'm wrong come end of the year ... I'll eat my hat. But I don't think it will come to that ...

117
Berk in the Merc.

The heading photo says a million words.

118

Note that how many times that Unfortunate name "Alonso" is mentioned here. What a driver. I always feel for him.

119

Go Nico!

120

Rosberg cannot really win it, only Mercedes' poor reliability can cost Lewis the title, that is a damning reminder of all those engines he has had go pop, while Rosberg has suffered none.

If you remove the engine failures from the outcome, Lewis has trounced him, yet again, and everybody can see it.

Although Rosberg has improved, clearly, he is still grossly inferior to Lewis in many aspects. His deluded [Mod], running other drivers, usually Lewis, but others have suffered, off the apex of corners shows what a [Mod] he is, how limited he is at the limit, how he really has zero guile when it counts. Four times I believe we have seen this absurd narcissistic trick from him, yet "amazingly" no other driver, pay or star, has managed to get tangled up in such a stupid move. Why is that ??

121

It is not over until it is over. The person who has the most points wins the championship! Any thoughts on what is fair or not - is pointless. Life is not fair!

122

I would like Lewis to win it, but as I'm sure I've said on this site and know I have on other sites. Lewis is having the same sort of 2016 as me. It is just not his year, the racing gods are not smiling on him. I think he'll be lucky to get his 50th win this season. Its disappointing, but at least Mercedes will have 2 WDC's. I just hope that Lewis has no more reliability issues, the clutch will stay an issue for both of them.
Looking forward to 2017 and seeing what the new rules will bring, more competition would be good.

123

All this talk about Nico getting one DNF and HAM is back in the game for the WDC. Has anyone considered the fact that Nico could pull a dirty one on HAM and cause a collision (Prost-Senna; Senna-Prost) to secure his first WDC? Personally, I would not put something like that past him.

For the great contributors on here that are hoping there would be no mechanical issues on both cars, I can only say that one DNF for Nico with mechanical issues would make for a great 2016 F1 finally. Guess when they say no mechanical failures on either car they are actually hoping that if something should happen, it should not happen to Nico.

I disagree with most that Nico is a great driver as he is just a fortunate one this year and will agree with the comment that if he does win, he will go down in history as a good driver like Keke, not a great driver.

Finally, I believe HAM will get in there and silence all the [Mod] 😉

124

I think that a mechanical DNF will strike again for Mercedes, Lewis had such bad luck I wouldn't be surprised if he had another just to top it off, on the other hand Nico has had a relatively reliability friendly season so he's about due one.

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