Mercedes-Benz roll into Sao Paulo having secured the 2016 Constructors Championship but could the Brazilian F1 be Nico Rosberg’s last chance at the Drivers’ title.
The penultimate Grand Prix of the season has witnessed six title-winning moments and five of the world champions on Sunday’s grid have clinched the crown at the Interlagos circuit.
Mercedes has dominated F1 since the current generation of hybrid cars was introduced in 2014 winning both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2014 and 2015. Rosberg’s victory in Japan sealed a third consecutive team title for the German team and extended his lead over team-mate and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton to 33 points.
The flying Finn looked certain to come out of Hamilton’s shadow with only four Grand Prix remaining but the world champion has fought back with victories at the United States GP in Austin, Texas and the Mexican GP in Mexico City. Rosberg still leads by 19 points in the driver’s championship by virtue of finishing second behind his team mate and knows a win at Interlagos this weekend will be enough to clinch his first world championship crown.
While a wise man would probably consider matched betting for his title race money, it seems the bookies are still optimistic about Rosberg’s chances. With Brazil this weekend and the final Grand Prix of 2016 in Abu Dhabi, Nico is 1/4 to win the title. Whether he does it at Interlagos is another matter, Hamilton is favourite at 13/8 to win the Brazilian GP while Rosberg can be backed at 2/1. But, if the Brit does come out on top, what are the odds the Finn can hold it together and finish the job in Abu Dhabi?
Hamilton has endured some terrible luck this season but is back in the chase and determined to win his fourth F1 title to join Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel in for a share of third place in the all-time lists. Michael Schumacher holds the record for seven titles won followed by Juan Manuel Fangio with five.
It was barely a year ago that Rosberg was left looking a broken driver after a mistake at the US GP handed Hamilton the title. He showed his resilience in the way he bounced back with seven successive victories and loves Sao Paulo where has won the last two Brazilian GPs.
It’s well accepted that Rosberg can’t match Hamilton’s pace or skill at overtaking however his consistency could hold the key to him joining his father Keke in the F1 roll of honour – the second father and son combination after Graham and Damion Hill to win the world crown.