- 24/11/16 Nick Gibbs
The F1 season comes to its climax on Sunday with the final race in Abu Dhabi (Channel 4 and Sky Sports F1 from 2pm Ibiza Time)
Although Hamilton is favourite to win the race (8:13 with Rosberg at 2:1), the win is not enough to take the championship. All Rosberg has to do is go for a low risk 2nd place to take the crown – though Redbull are saying loud and clear they will not make it easy for the German to pip Hamilton to take his first F1 title.
Face facts, Rosberg should win, and that is reflected in the odds with Paddy Power offering 1:5 on Rosberg taking the title, though Hamilton’s 7:2 shows that in F1 anything can happen.
Perhaps Rosberg will have his first engine failure; Hamilton’s identical car has sufferred three race-ending failures already this season so you could argue Rosberg is due. Hamilton cannot bemoan the engine issues too much if he does lose out to Rosberg; his own poor starts have had a big impact too; 6 in a season of 20 races tells its own story.
Anything can happen, but we don’t think a Rosberg engine failure will be the road to a 4th World championship for Hamilton. Rosberg seems to have had a charmed life inside the Mercedes garage this year, the difference in their mechanical fortunes being something Hamilton has pointed to more than once.
Where Rosberg has suffered is on-track infractions. His antics have earned him 2 in-race penalties, but our outside bet is that a certain Mr Verstappen may be the cause of Teutonic failure. Verstappen seems to get under the skin of the Germans with squabbles and bitching between him and both Rosberg and Vettel ever increasing as the season has progressed.
Hamilton needs pole, that seems achievable. He then needs the good start that will allow him to get away and leave Rosberg with Redbull, and particularly Verstappen, snapping at his heels.
There seems little doubt that Verstappen will be F1 champion in the not too distant future. We love his style, and being totally partisan in support of Hamilton, we’ll love him even more if we see him in a tangled mess with Rosberg in the final race of 2016. In a time of Leicester City and Honey G, we’d take that bet, but can’t find a market for two drivers involved in a fortuitous crash.
If Hamilton wins and Rosberg avoids the Dutch whippersnapper’s attentions, but for any other reason doesn’t make the top two, there are a bewildering array of potential outcomes that could go down to who has the most 3rd place finishes.
The BBC have posted as succinct as possible summary of the F1 title outcome permutations.
Read more on Redbull Boss Horner “Nico Rosberg cannot afford tangle with Red Bull drivers”
Full details of the practice, qualifying and race times These times are UK so remember to add an hour in Ibiza. The race will be shown in many bars, two we know are showing it for sure are Stevie D’s and Flaherty’s