Lewis Hamilton’s dominant display in Brazil was petered out by an exciting drive from an attack-minded Max Verstappen, but whilst the Dutchman pulled some ridiculously good overtakes in the spotlight, the British driver managed the lead for the entire race in torrential conditions.
The title fight between the Silver Arrows will go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi, with Rosberg’s lead in the standings cut to 12-points. Winning the race won’t be enough for Hamilton, he will need Rosberg to finish 4th or lower if he is to collect 25-points and claim the 2016 World Championship.
🇦🇪 ABU DHABI TITLE DECIDERS 🇦🇪
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 16, 2016
With then title fight in the balance, Toto Wolff has confirmed that his thoughts are entirely on making sure the battle for victory in 2016 isn’t decided by mechanical failure, but on-track ability. He said,
“As Bernie would have ordered it, there will be a showdown in Abu Dhabi. Twelve points gap, so they are going to drive it out on track.
We just have to give them two cars so that they can fight it out on the track. My biggest nightmare would be mechanical issues.”
– Toto Wolff
There is the argument that, should Rosberg win the title, mechanical failure will remain the reason for his victory in the eyes of many given Hamilton’s gremlins earlier on in the season. The Brit’s penalty at Spa springs to mind, his recovery drive from the back of the grid to 3rd an indication that without the penalty, with the same pace, he could have collected 25-points in Belgium. That would have led to a tighter battle heading to the finale of the season, the gap would only be 2-points. Don’t even mention Malaysia to a Hamilton fan.
If? But? Maybe? Take any season of Formula One and you will find alternative outcomes if you start playing with luck as a variable. Take 2008. It is well remembered that Timo Glock’s struggling Toyota at Interlagos was, inadvertently, the widely regarded deciding factor in the outcome of the title. But Massa’s pit-light failure in Singapore has as much relevance.
Both Mercedes drivers head to Abu Dhabi with nine victories each after managing to pull out another 1-2 in Brazil. Wolff added,
“You can’t expect a one-two in these conditions and this is a rare achievement. You have such tricky conditions and to drive it home with a one-two and a faultless drive by Lewis with the best pace in the field, I’m very happy about that result actually.
It’s maybe the best result of the season.”
– Toto Wolff
— Yas Marina Circuit (@ymcofficial) November 16, 2016
Hamilton isn’t the first and will certainly not be the last racing driver to suffer mechanical attrition, but that’s the world of Motorsport – He’s still in a better position at Mercedes and will definitely be a contender for the title next season.