The triumph of Lewis Hamilton in the Brazilian GP marked two new historical milestones for the Briton. First, he won his 52nd Formula 1 race, which makes him climb above Alain Prost and become number 2 all-time, below Michael Schumacher. Second, Hamilton actually surpassed M.Schumacher’s record of 23 different circuits on which he won at least once; the Englishman marked no.24 with Interlagos. Yet, Lewis Hamilton is still trailing Nico Rosberg in the driver’s championship and it will all go down to the Abu Dhabi GP 2016 [25,26 and 27 November], the last race of the season.
The Path To The Title – Abu Dhabi GP 2016
With one race left of the 2016 Formula 1 season, the Mercedes drivers dominate the standings, holding up the first two spots. Nico Rosberg is first (367pts), edging Lewis Hamilton by 12 points. With up to 25 points available in a single race, the title battle is not yet over. However, Rosberg will start the Abu Dhabi GP 2016 as a title favorite. His championship path is much smoother than his teammate’s. Below are the ways to clench the title, from each driver’s perspective:
He needs to be better than Rosberg by at least 13 points. If he recovers only 12pts (eg. Hamilton takes 2nd and Rosberg finishes 7th), then the German would win the tie-breaker, having more 2nd-place finishes than his British peer. This means that Hamilton needs at the very least to catch the podium.
- Hamilton finishes 3rd: Rosberg must finish at best 9th.
- Hamilton finishes 2nd: Rosberg must finish at best 8th.
- Lewis Hamilton wins at Yas Marina Circuit: Rosberg must finish at best 4th.
From the German’s perspective, the above scenarios mean one simple thing – if he finishes on the podium, he is World Champion, regardless what Lewis Hamilton would do. Rosberg could keep the top spot even if he abandons, but Hamilton misses the podium.
Given the above, the two most important ideas are:
- if Rosberg finishes on the podium, he keeps his first place no matter what
- if Hamilton misses a top 3 finish, Rosberg wins the title no matter what
It seems that Lewis Hamilton MUST achieve a top finish if he is to pose any threat to Rosberg’s spot. But just how likely is the three-time champion to perform well in Abu Dhabi?