The big enemy of F1’s title showdown in Abu Dhabi this weekend is the risk of technical failure.
To win the title, Nico Rosberg only has to finish third on Sunday, even if Lewis Hamilton wins his fourth consecutive grand prix on the trot.
“Nico must withstand enormous pressure, cross his fingers and hope that a third driver, like Verstappen, does not intervene,” Dino Chiesa, who was Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton’s karting boss, told Corriere della Sera newspaper.
“I predict that Hamilton will win the race hands-down on a track he loves,” Chiesa said. “A failure? It would be a nightmare,” he added.
“So far it has worked out well for Nico, but now he has to cross his fingers.”
Former F1 driver Timo Glock agrees that, on paper, championship victory will be a straightforward matter for Rosberg in Abu Dhabi.
“He knows he has a car with which he can be second at any time if things go smoothly. In my opinion, he can only lose the title with a technical defect,” he told the German broadcaster Sport1.
“Of course Red Bull will be strong, just like Ferrari, but I think Mercedes always has so much in hand to make up for that. The question is how reliable the car is,” Glock added.
“In recent races, Mercedes has tried to be on the safe side technically and with the engines, and that’s why Red Bull was a bit closer,” he said.