Hamilton can’t afford another late-season slump

2016 F1 season

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Last year Lewis Hamilton wrapped up the drivers’ championship with three rounds to go. But after last weekend’s race in Singapore not only does the title look increasingly likely to be decided at the final race, but Hamilton’s chances have taken a blow.

It would be easy to exaggerate how serious the situation has become for the defending champion. Nico Rosberg’s eight-point lead is dwarfed by the 150 points still available.

But the fact of the matter is having worked hard to overturn a significant early-season deficit to Rosberg, Hamilton has let it slip away.

He went into the summer break with a useful 19-point buffer. Even seeing Rosberg win the first race back in Belgium was no cause for alarm. Hamilton had solved his power unit problem by fitting a raft of new components and accepting the inevitable grid penalty, yet still come away with a podium finish.

His route to a fourth world championship crown now seemed clear. Yet events continue to conspire against him.

In Italy he took pole position but started poorly and Rosberg took the win. In Singapore he missed a chunk of Friday practice due to yet more technical problems and never really seemed to get a handle on his car after then. It’s been that kind of season so far for Hamilton.

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Hamilton and Rosberg’s 2016 season so far

Hamilton still looked set for title after Spa
Whether the bigger source of Hamilton’s troubles this year has been himself or the car is a subject of much conjecture. Getting the Mercedes off the line well has been a problem for both drivers, notably Hamilton in Australia and Italy, and Rosberg in Germany.

What hit Hamilton hardest the spate of power unit problems early in the season which compromised his qualifying performances and ultimately led to a raft of penalties in Belgium too.

There’s nothing new about the kind of problems Hamilton’s been having. But what is different about this year compared to earlier seasons is he’s not been able to overcome them as successfully.

His poor start at Monza a few weeks ago brought to mind a similar scenario two years ago. On that occasion Hamilton chased down Rosberg, pressured him into two mistakes, and won. This time Rosberg made no such mistakes.

Nor was Hamilton’s Friday setback in Singapore especially out of the ordinary, yet in qualifying and the race he was outdone by Rosberg. This is potentially the most troubling development for Hamilton as we enter the final half-dozen races.

Lewis HamiltonNico Rosberg
AustraliaPole but slipped to sixth at start21Passed by the Ferraris but got back ahead
BahrainPole but hit by Bottas at start31Took lead at start
ChinaStarted at the back after power unit glitch71Pole and victory
RussiaPower unit problems in qualifying and race21Power unit problems in race
SpainCollided with team mate on lap oneDNFDNFCollided with team mate on lap one
MonacoQualified third despite another fault17Struggled in wet, let Hamilton past
CanadaEdged Rosberg wide at start15Puncture and spin hampered recovery effort
EuropeHit wall in qualifying, engine settings problem in race51Pole and victory
AustriaFell behind Rosberg on strategy, passed on last lap14Penalised for Hamilton collision
Great BritainQuicker than Rosberg in wet and dry conditions13Radio penalty dropped him behind Verstappen
HungaryPassed Rosberg at the start12Pole aided by Alonso spin, lost lead at start
GermanyPassed Rosberg at the start14Passed by Red Bulls at start, collected penalty
BelgiumPower unit penalties meant he started last31Pole and victory
ItalyPole but slipped to sixth at start21Took lead at start
SingaporeMissed part of FP2, beaten by Ricciardo31Pole and victory

There was no such pressure for Hamilton 12 months ago. He left Singapore with a 41-point lead and, aided by Rosberg’s car breaking down in Russia, became champion three races later.

The remaining races: 2015 results

Lewis HamiltonNico Rosberg
Abu Dhabi2nd1st

After that Hamilton “wished the season was over” and had a somewhat lacklustre final three races, all of which Rosberg won. His team mate was quick throughout the final few races: he led in Russia until his car failed and he was leading in the USA when he made the mistake which clinched the title for Hamilton.

Rosberg has never previously led the championship after Singapore: in 2014 he lost the lead with five races to go. Eight wins is by far his best tally so far in a season, and out of the last 18 starts he’s won 11.

This is the best form we’ve ever seen Rosberg in. And when it comes to fighting wheel-to-wheel, Spain and Austria left no one in doubt how uncompromising he can be.

In the six races left on the 2016 calendar Rosberg out-scored Hamilton by 126 points to 122 last year. Whether Rosberg has found a new level or his team mate has just been unlucky, Hamilton goes into the final races knowing he must perform at his best this time.

Over to you

Is Rosberg finally going to beat Hamilton to the championship this year? Do you expect a stronger showing from Hamilton in the remaining races?

Have your say in the comments.

2016 F1 season

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Eight wins have made this Rosberg’s strongest championship campaign yet

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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75 comments on “Hamilton can’t afford another late-season slump”

  1. The second half of the season may end up being like the first half. Rosberg wins the first bunch of races, and then Hamilton wins most of the rest. So, if the second half is like that, expect Rosberg to win in Malaysia, and then Hamilton to win 4 of the following 5. Question for Hamilton, is will that be enough? Yes, I do expect the Drivers’ Championship to be decided at the last race. It may end up being a “winner tales all” race, which will be great.

  2. I’d like to see Rosberg win the championship – as a reward for his general consistency, good mindset and mental toughness. Another reason I’d like Rosberg to win is to see Mercedes rewarded for their stellar powertrain and great car by having *both* their drivers have a WDC. Yes, yes, I know it’s led to a few years of dominance, but its been earned, and earned against other equally big-name competitors like Ferrari, Honda and Renault.

  3. Rosberg had been on great form? That is way off the mark, he’s been very average throughout the season for me. I don’t know what the he’ll happened in Singapore but that as been a one off so far this season.

    I expect Lewis to set things straight again in Malaysia, the thing that I don’t like is when Toto constantly mentions that it’s going down to the wire….

    1. How can he be very average when he has won 8 out of 15 races this year? It seems to me that he could hardly have done any better than that.

      1. You do know what car he’s driving don’t you….

      2. You do know what car Nico is driving don’t you?

        1. And Lewis this year, last year and the year before that…..so?

          1. Well seeing as though Hamilton dominated Rosberg in 2014 and 2015 what’s your point???

        2. You do know Nico’s team-mate, don’t you?

          8 wins to Hamilton’s 6 is remarkable. I think by now we all agree Lewis is an all-time great, so Rosberg’s doing a tremendous job to beat him, and in 15 races the luck part gets even, and Mercedes’s clever strategy to have all Hamilton’s penalties at the same race minimized his disadvantage.

          This season will be epic: the underdog with a real chance to beat the favourite, pushing each other to the highest level, and with a 20-years old rivalry between them.

          1. How can you say the luck part will get even? That’s just a wild guess at best.

      3. It’s really hard to say it without doing Nico an injustice for his stellar performances this season, but of the first four races, only the first one presented him with any real competition (and even then Vettel was taken out of the equation by his times strategy).

        1. Really dont car who wins, sick of the Dom mercs cars making there pilots look like gods…please bring on 2017 and hopefully 2 or 3 teams battling at the front.

    2. Singapore historically is one of Rosbergs strongest circuits. He was on the podium there in 2008 for Williams and has performed well there ever since.

      I saw an article on the BBC (by Benson i think, i presume, given how much nonsense was in it). Saying that Rosberg really pulled one out of the hat to win in Singapore, saying its proof that hes raised his game.

      If there was ever one circuit i would associate with Rosberg, its Singapore. You’d think these people, who get paid to observe and report on F1, would at least have some idea about their profession.

      1. “Singapore historically is one of Rosbergs strongest circuits”

        A circuit that until this race he had only ever been on the podium once? People who are specialist around Singapore are Seb and Lewis, just look at their record

        1. Contrary to your opinion, records actually mean nothing.

          Rosberg has always been quick around Singapore. Wether results have gone in his favour is another matter entirely.

          Bahrain is another circuit Rosberg has historically been strong at. Tell me how many times has he won there.

          1. Records mean nothing to those who have achieved nothing.

          2. Funny little quote that, but no, in Formula 1, a mechanical sport, where there are thousands of variables that play into the outcome of ones career. Records mean nothing.

            If you actually followed this sport thoroughly and went back an observed Rosberg around Singapore, going back to the actual point, you’d know it is one of his strongest circuits.

            PS. You didn’t answer my question RE: Bahrain.

      2. Rosberg results in Singapore:
        2008: 2nd
        2009: 11th
        2010: 5th
        2011: 7th
        2012: 10th
        2013: 4th
        2014: Retired
        2015: 4th
        2016: 1st

        If this is one of his strongest circuits then he’s not WC material.

        1. I’m talking about pace, not results. They are not mutually exclusive.

          1. Over 8 years a genuine pace advantage will produce a higher average result than on other tracks.
            Here are Rosberg’s results for the British GP:
            2008: 9th
            2009: 5th
            2010: 3rd
            2011: 6th
            2012: 15th
            2013: 1st
            2014: Retired
            2015: 2nd
            2016: 3rd
            Looks like Rosberg’s ‘pace’ at Silverstone is a lot better when things are going well, with 4 podiums over the 8 years compared to 2 at Singapore, and the distribution seems skewed a bit higher. Ignoring the single retirement at each track, Rosberg has an identical average final position of 6.29 at both Singapore and Silverstone.

            Of course, Hamilton has dominated at Silverstone for the past 3 years, so arguing that the Northampton track is one of Nico’s stronger circuits wouldn’t say much for his chances.

  4. This is a good balanced article as I expect from this site but I must say I do find it funny how some media and fans like to go to extremes in their reactions after a few races.

    After Rosberg’s victory in Singapore and Hamilton being off form over the weekend, from some responses you would think that it was all over for Hamilton and there was no way back.

    This was only one race and Rosberg has shown in the past he is more than capable of beating Hamilton, so this result is nothing new.

    This may have been Rosberg’s third win in a row but before that Hamilton was on a run of victories, and remember that at Spa Hamilton started at the back and at Monza he was quickest leading up to the race but made a bad start, so it is not as if Hamilton has been off form for all of those three races.

    I remember before the race at Monza I think it was Eddie Jordan on Channel 4 saying that with Hamilton’s recent performances, overcoming the points deficit, the way he minimised his points loss in Spa and his pole at Monza that it didn’t look good for Rosberg and that he thought he was a beaten man, cue Rosberg win and Hamilton is the one in trouble.

    At the moment I think that the Championship is finely balanced and I would not like to pick a winner at this stage, even if one of them went on to win the next three races in a row, as long as the points gap is realistically close, I still think either of them could win it.

    1. +1 @pja. Well written!

  5. Eight wins, at least three of which were gifted, and when push comes to shove on track in equally faultless machinery Rosberg has rarely come out on top. While despondent there wasn’t an iota of spite in any of Hamilton’s words at Singapore, I don’t think the same can ever be said of Rosberg when losing.

    While I don’t dare predict who’s going to win this year (it’s certainly exciting). There’s no doubt who I want, or think deserves to (hint: It’s not the one that’s resorted to stopping on track in qualifying, ignoring yellow flags, or driving in to their team mate.)

    1. Awesome response @Tristan and @PJA. Unfortunately, the championship will not be decided in Singapore alone. Ham didn’t get enough running in practice and at a track that Mercedes was off last season, there wasn’t much data flowing around for the team to set the car up with.

      I suspect Rosberg manipulated his data so that it would be useless to Hamilton and as a result Lewis’s side of the garage got nothing meaningful from the data.

      1. My own personal view is Rosberg is an average driver with a fantastic car, if Alonso or Vettle had been in that car they would have made it sing. Also my view on Merc team is they want a German WC at any cost, questions:— why change pit crews from one driver to another, if cars are identical how is it just Hamiltons that has parts fail. Many shady questions to put to the Merc team.

        1. Well you are going to hurt big time if Rosberg beats Hamilton to the championship. Imagine your boy Hamilton beaten by an average driver. What does that say about Hamilton. He must also be an average driver in a fantastic car.
          Look, I am picking fun at you because your comment is stupid. To be serious though, Rosberg is not an average driver. He is a very good one. Hamilton is a better one when his mind is on the job. Rosberg can’t rise to that level ever. But he is a very good driver and will be a deserving winner if he takes out the championship.
          I have seen less deserving winners in the past.

          1. Sorry I am stupid but that’s life. Rosberg is an average driver many better than him on the grid, if Lewis does loose it will be down to whatever is going on behind closed doors at the Merc factory.
            In my mind on what I have seen Rosberg do he will never be a deserving winner, too many dirty tricks and underhand moves, a WC should win on merit, sorry this will be stupid as well no doubt.

  6. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    22nd September 2016, 14:02

    As a Hamilton supporter I have to concede that Rosberg’s consistency does make him a deserving WDC should he be crowned this year. Yes I think with 100% reliability for both cars he could never beat Lewis but reliability and luck have always been an aspect of F1 and rightly so, it is a team sport, we just don’t always consider it as such because if a car retires we don’t know who was responsible and we don’t have a microphone thrust into the face of Jeff from car 44’s suspension team apologising for not calibrating his sensors properly or something, if you get my gist.

    I think Rosberg will be crowned WDC this year and tbh i’m ok with it and I think Hamilton needs that fire because if he isnt sulking, you get the impression he is kind of over F1 and that would be a real shame.

  7. Rosberg’s consistency? Am I missing something here? The man is in the best car by a mile so gets second by default whenever Lewis doesn’t perform and that’s mostly been down to the car this year….

    1. So it doesn’t matter whoever wins the championship. The car is the real champ..as was also the case the last two years.

      1. Breaking news, the sky is blue.

        That goes for Senna, Schumacher, Vettel…..

        1. My point exactly.

          1. Yet his teammate was driving the same car and given equal treatment, something some other champions teammates could only dream of.

          2. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that ROS wins when HAM doesn’t and vice versa.

      2. No surprise at all tbh, Nico is a good driver but let’s not get carried away here.

        Even if Nico wins this year I feel the partnership is stale, Mercedes should have replaced Nico with Alonso.

        1. Fortunately, that’s for Mercerdes AMG to decide.

      3. i’m afraid that has been the case since i started watching in the early 90s

    2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      22nd September 2016, 15:45

      The consistency comment was born of the fact that he has very much kept Lewis Hamilton no less very honest in the qualifying stakes over 4 years, made better starts than him overall this year and that drive in Singapore was impressive to me for the fact that it was physically the most demanding race of the season, a hungry badger was rapidly closing, brakes were marginal and it would have been very easy to make a mistake under those conditions but he managed not to put a foot wrong. I give kudos where it’s due and as I mentioned I am a Hamilton fan.

  8. I’m going to copy and paste from elsewhere:

    ” Lewis had a total of 4 bad starts, to Nico’s 3. Although in Canada both had bad starts, while Lewis recovered to win, Nico couldn’t. He had a spin on the last lap too.
    – Monaco could have been easily Lewis’ pole, if not for the Q3 issue. Despite that, he got 3rd. He still scored the fastest S1 time on his final flier. He did 5 laps in Q3 on single set.
    – Hungary could have been easily Lewis’ pole. On the last flying lap, Lewis up by 3 tenths in sector 1 compared to Nico’s final pole time (s1).
    – Set up issues in Baku and Singapore, where Lewis struggles visibly with break issues, hampers the weekend.
    – When it was a straight forward fight for qualifying, without any issues, Lewis has been dominant. The margin has been quite significant.
    – Lewis had 5 reliability issues. 4 of those gave Nico easy races.”

    It’s not exactly been a fair fight.

    1. LOL @franton

      “Although in Canada both had bad starts, while Lewis recovered to win, Nico couldn’t. He had a spin on the last lap too.” – Really??!, Lewis ‘recovered’ to win after pushing Nico off track and down into ninth place at the start!

      Monaco – only won thanks to Redbull’s cockup

      1. Still @asanator, @franton is right that Hamilton did win that start – Rosberg wasn’t able to do a good enough start to get ahead, that’s all that matters for the fight between them; similar with Monaco: no matter what, Hamilton would have finished at worse 2nd, Rosberg still only came 7th.

        I think it can be argued, and people can surely differ on whether Baku and Singapore were partly to be blamed on Hamilton; but still, on the whole, Rosberg has had a lot less problems this year (both had a lot of issues in races though if we can believe Mercedes), but in any case, he has always been there to pick up pieces when Hamilton (couldn’t) be there this year, unlike the first 2/3rd of last year where he often seemed lost.

      2. @asanator You made the mistake of thinking I agree fully with what I copied and pasted from another source. I wish I could believe so wholeheartedly that my driver of choice is so blameless as yours. BZZT! Thanks for playing.

  9. IMHO, Hamilton has been kind of ‘unconcerned’ with the results lately, taking things with a grain of salt. Does he know something we don’t and is he resigned to “it”?

    I am pessimistic as far as a fourth WDC for Hamilton this year.

    Then, maybe next year?

  10. HAM had brake issues in races where brake issues were expected. That might be because of his ‘harder on the brakes’ driving style and not the reliability of the car per se.

    1. So now brakes can’t even make it 10 laps without packing in due to Hamilton’s style?

      I reckon their quality control needs looking into….

      1. BOTH drivers were managing their brakes pretty much from the start.

        1. Nico can’t have been nursing them that much as he was gapping Ricciardo, Mercedes are the only team that have identical issues at exactly the same time….

      2. These cars’ brakes reach their operating temperature in minutes, not 10 laps.
        Once they’re over their operating temperature window, they under perform. This is simple logic.

        1. Maybe the team need to look into better cooling then, this is a performance issue as well as a reliability issue.

          1. Every mechanical component has an optimum operating window to achieve maximum efficiency and life.
            While it is easy to say “Maybe the team need to look into better cooling then”, it is not so easy to achieve. That is why heavy machinery can only be operated by qualified personnel. Or else we all could’ve been F1 drivers.

  11. Much like @pja notes, I think this is a fair article. It nods at some points made by the more extreme press, but makes clear that nothing is settled. Neither driver is washed up. And it’s way too close to call.

    It does make clear who the fervent Hamilton supporters are, however, as even the mere suggestion that he might be beaten to the title must be explained away in the comments. We should be honest with ourselves though. Even if you think Hamilton has had a tougher go this season, having fewer points come the end means you were beaten. Make your peace now with that idea, just in case it happens.

    More to the point, the final 6 races will likely be some combination of wins for the Merc drivers. And there will likely be a number of 1-2s or 1-3s. So rather than getting all twisted up trying to defend and deflect, let’s just enjoy the fact that we may actually have a season that comes down to the wire again.

  12. If people think a title fight down to the wire caused by ones misfortune is a proper battle then hey ho…..

    1. @Damon85 – The point is that unless you believe the tinfoil-hattery that Merc is manipulating results, this is how racing seasons go. I, personally, dislike that Button has a WDC title because their diffuser was randomly allowed (while other teams’ ideas seem to get randomly disallowed). I’ve heard others complain that Massa’s WDC title was stolen by the orchestrated crash at that year’s Singapore GP. Those seem to me to be legitimate gripes because they were decisions made by people that could have been made differently and (at least in the case of the latter) more fairly.

      So to moan and complain that mechanical errors, hardware faults, or misfortune somehow taint the season—when that is life—seems a bit much to me. Especially considering the reverse last year when ROS car died in both Italy and Russia. Reliability had decided championships before, that’s part of the sport. We’re just not used to it anymore. Fact is, both drivers have done well this season, and given Hamilton’s power-unit advantage, he should have everything at his disposal to fight back. So, why not enjoy what’s left of the season while it is still a fight? Both have everything to play for.

      1. I don’t think there’s actually that much moaning and complaining. The post asks who do you think will win the championship, and if someones answer is Hamilton because he’s mostly been hampered by reliability issues thus far then what is wrong with that exactly? I only see one post really complaining about it “not being a fair fight.”

      2. My goodness…

        If a ‘good season’ for you is one where reliability masks ability, you must be real fun to be around.

        As for pointing out the couple of issues NR has suffered. Last year. As though LH had no issues at all. (Singapore?)

        Name one time in the last three years NR has started at the back? LH – I am starting to lose count frankly. Equally, count the strategy mishaps or engine failures one side has suffered compared to the other and then suggest that it’s all somehow equal and this is a fair fight because it’s just part of a team sport?

        I am not a tin hat person but facts are facts. NR has had a simply far better time of the reliability issues that nearly always mask his appalling down the grid racing behaviour and if he had anything like the number of back of the grid starts LH has endured this year through no fault of his own, the matter of equality would not be up for debate. The season would be very nearly over I suspect.

        1. @Drg – I never commented on the season being good or bad, or that one should be happy that some drivers have reliability issues. What I said was that we should enjoy what is left because points are basically equal and Hamilton has spare power units (i.e. no disadvantage going forward).

          I can understand—if one is a Hamilton fan—being less than ecstatic about the 15 races to date, but one cannot realistically expect every season to go perfectly for one driver or even the same for both drivers in a team. (Look at Vettel’s issues this year as compared to Raikkonen.) But, given all that, I think we should find some enjoyment in a potentially close battle to the end. As an F1 fan, who wins is not the most important thing to me, rather good competition and good races. Though I understand that is my opinion.

          1. Actually you read me wrong.

            A season swayed by reliability between just two cars is no fun at all.

            It minimises any talent differential. Particularly with the current tyres.

            A competitive season would have seen greater disparity and rewarded the better drives. Along with penalising the lesser…

  13. In Summary, according to Hamilton fanboys:

    Everytime HAM wins he wins because he is vastly superior and completly overshadow the opposition.

    Everytime ROS wins he wins because Hamilton had bad luck and his win shouldnt even count because he is the faster car by miles.

    1. Yep…..nailed it.

    2. If you’d had watched the 2016 season instead of regurgitating the usual rubbish you’ll see that most of Rosberg’s wins have been down to Hamilton’s misfortunes…

    3. You forgot that the team is also sabotaging Hamilton’s car or race @mijail.

      Even British Sky has questioned Mercedes management about it on several occasions so this is quite a common thing.

  14. I think Rosberg, if he is going to be champion, has to win it this year. Mercedes have dominated for a number of years and know one knows when that dominance will end. Ferrari and especially Red Bull have closed the gap to Mercedes slowly but surely. Nico is smart enough to know that he has to take his opportunity now or end up like Mark Webber did by never being champion despite driving for a dominant team. That is not a slight against Mark at all, he is a very talented driver, but F1 is so competitive you have to take your chances when they come along.

  15. Both have had their highs and lows this year and I doubt that anyone would argue that Hamilton when he’s “on it” is unbeatable.

    I can’t help wondering whether Mercedes made a huge mistake at the beginning of the year where they just circulated lap after lap without really hammering their car on softer tyres. They didn’t really get data on how reliable things would be when driven as hard as Hamilton does when he’s in Qualifying mode.

    His style is very hard on brakes, this year he’s probably locked up more than any other driver and if he’s that agressive on brakes, it’s quite likely he’s also agressive on other engine parts.

    There’s is no way any team would deliberately make a car prone to failure, despite all the tin foil hat theories, so it’s either bad luck or bad design that has caused Hamilton’s reliability issues.

    I am so looking forward to the remaining races to see how this all pans out. Isn’t that a good thing?

  16. Man, if you’re looking for “equal footing” between the two drivers or a “fair fight,” maybe sports aren’t for you. Sure, Rosberg’s been luckier than Hamilton with reliability; that’s F1. In fact, that’s basically any sport with injuries or reliability problems. It doesn’t detract from either driver’s ability at the end of the day, since we just about know at this point where Hamilton and Rosberg stand against each other in terms of raw speed. But that’s how sports go, sometimes the top athletes don’t win because of circumstances out of their control. Accept that and maybe stop coming up with excuses for LH?

  17. I’ve got to say that this article sums the situation perfectly. In previous races Lewis was so much better than Nico, pace and race craft wise, he could lose the start yet still beat Nico time and time again. Now however Rosberg is a better driver than he was then, I still believe Lewis is the faster and better driver but not enough where he can just breeze part like before. Lewis needs a bit more luck in terms of reliability for the remaining races but he also needs to be on top of his game and if that happens I still see Lewis winning. Don’t forget it’s only 8 point difference, yes Lewis got thumped in Singapore but if he wins in Malaysia that will be forgotten.

    1. No, now Lewis is falling further back at the start and the other cars are closer in race pace. Nico hasn’t upped his game at all IMO….

  18. From a comment I made earlier in the week:
    I couldn’t help but do a little research about Nico’s run with Mercedes.

    – 22 career wins, all of them with good track conditions
    – 14 won from pole (29 career poles, 15 of them were not converted to wins, 9 of them lost to Lewis)
    – 4 of them were won by being ahead at turn 1, those don’t qualify as on-track passes to me
    – 2 of them won by competitor car failures
    – 2 of them won by pit strategy
    – 0 of them required an true on-track pass

    Zero overtakes in his 22 career victories. I know that I have seen some on-track passes from Rosberg from further back in the pack, but they are far and few between(and with a superior Mercedes chassis) and less memorable than the more memorable clumsy moves(some of them controversial) along the way. It isn’t surprising that he hasn’t managed to capture many new fans to his side because frankly, his racing doesn’t generate any passion.

    – If Rosberg stays out front of Lewis on qualifying pace and manages good race starts, he’ll win the championship.
    – If he has to defend against Lewis on track, I predict more collisions and the results will be a wild card.
    – If he has to pass Lewis (or for that matter, anyone else) on track, history says he follows him home. (One pass generated by DRS and a big dive bomb braking at USA 2015 is the only successful pass on Lewis I can think of during their time at Mercedes together-which he later gave up by running off track)

  19. Don’t think there is any need to be concerned just yet. There are plenty of points left. Lewis Hamilton can get his act together and walk away with the championship yet again this year. Although credit must go to Nico Rosberg…he is getting the job done on Fridays and Saturdays and keeping the championship battle interesting with results on Sunday. A nice clean qualifier in Malayasia without mechanical issues is what Hamilton needs.

  20. If Rosberg wins two more races and finishes 2nd in the other four races, the title is his.

    The races are boring as hell this year, but the championship has the potential to become interesting.

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