It is now down to the last race at Abu Dhabi in two weeks’ time. The two Mercedes drivers are locked in the world championship battle with full knowledge of their current standings. Rosberg had last won at the German GP in July and by his victory on Sunday, he broke the streak of Hamilton’s six consecutive wins. In qualifying, Rosberg was dominant throughout as he walked away with season’s tenth pole. With just 17 points separating Hamilton and Rosberg, the fight for World Champion’s title at Abu Dhabi will become akin to the last-ball decision in T20 Cricket matches. The 2014 season turned out to be vastly different from last year, when Sebastian Vettel had already become the champion, with three races remaining. Despite the wafer-thin margin, it is hazardous to make any prediction at this stage. Rosberg can win if he comes out on tops but even the second place will do for Hamilton as long as Rosberg doesn’t take the first. On Sunday, the German kept Hamilton chasing him throughout the race off his tail to secure a first win in nearly 4 months. Taking the third place on the podium, Felipe Massa gave the locals something to cheer about. Button was placed fourth after a great race from start to finish.
On Saturday, Nico Rosberg had edged past Lewis Hamilton to take the Pole at the Interlagos track in Brazil. It was a storming last run for the top grid spot by Rosberg, who finished merely 0.033 seconds ahead of Hamilton. It was also season’s 10th pole for the 29-year old Rosberg, who maintained his perfect run throughout Friday and Saturday and topped every session in commanding style. On a hazy Saturday, Felipe Massa brought cheers for the local crowd by finishing third, Finn Valtteri Bottas was fourth; GB’s Jenson Button fifth; Sebastian Vettel of Germany sixth; Dane Kevin Magnussen seventh; Spain’s Fernando Alonso eighth; Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo ninth and Finland’s Kimi Raikonnen was tenth.
Before the main event on Sunday, Rosberg had known about a piece of interesting statistic that the drivers starting in pole positions have won only 3 out of 14 races at Sao Paulo. But Rosberg didn’t care as he shot cleanly off from his pole and reached the first corner before Hamilton. Every driver had a clean start. As the sun came, Rosberg stretched his lead even further but on the fourth lap, Hamilton was the fastest and reduced the gap by 1.2 seconds. On the sixth lap, Ricciardo tried to overtake teammate Vettel but he didn’t succeed. In Lap 6 and 7, Bottas, Button and Rosberg went for the tyre change and Hamilton led for a while. While Bottas and Button returned to take 14th and 15th places. Just before completing Lap 10, Hamilton also went to pits but he came out just a few yards behind Rosberg. The tenth lap was the fastest for Rosberg as he created more gap ahead of Hamilton. For a while Nico Hulkenberg of Force India led Rosberg with Kvyat third and Hamilton fourth, but by lap 13, the top rivals were back to their 1-2 slot. Meanwhile, Button Bottas and Grosjean had their own battle for placements below Rosberg, Hamilton and Massa. The warm weather caused tyre-heating and Hamilton’s front right tyre suffered a blister and he had to check himself Rosberg was still 2.4 secs ahead.
Between laps 25 to 28 many drivers, including Rosberg and Hamilton, went to the pits for the second time. The blister on Hamilton’s tyre did not cause much problem as the Briton reduced the gap from Rosberg to just 1.1 sec. When, Rosberg pitted second time, Hamilton went into the lead yet again with Button right behind and Rosberg returning in the third place. In lap 28, Hamilton suffered a slight spin as his rear locked up and he slid. Though the moment soon passed, the slide off the track cost Hamilton 7 seconds. In later laps, Hamilton tried to reduce the gap further but 7 seconds was a massive disadvantage for the Briton. It became clear to Hamilton that his rear tyres were affecting Hamilton ability to sustain his chase positively.
At the halfway stage, it was not possible to predict the winner with the two champions fought tooth and nail. But Rosberg kept his lead by at least 5 seconds. In lap 39, Ricciardo’s brakes gave way. He informed the engineers about the problem and went to the pits. He had a suspension problem and he retired from the race. By lap 48, Hamilton had reduced the gap to 2secs and dark clouds gathered above in the sky. In lap 50, Rosberg made his third and last pit stop but it didn’t change anything because Hamilton also went to pits in lap 51. When Hamilton came out he was still right behind Rosberg and talking about other constructors, Mercedes has been way above the rest most of the season. At third place, Massa’s Williams was a full 28 seconds behind. It was an uneventful race for last 15-20 laps with Rosberg holding his nerves and Hamilton trying to overtake his teammate. If he emerges victorious at Abu Dhabi, the World Champion’s crown would be his. But he will have to ward off Hamilton, who, too, has performed spectacularly this season. For Mercedes, it was the 11th 1-2 finish of the season. Third-placed Brazilian Massa had a roaring applause from fans and it was his fifth podium finish at Interlagos. Following Massa in fourth to tenth places were Button, Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Magnussen and Bottas.
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