Rosberg carrying F1 momentum into Abu Dhabi
Lewis Hamilton leads the championship heading to the Formula One finale but Nico Rosberg carries the momentum into the decisive race in Abu Dhabi.
While Rosberg is coming off a strong victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton is dwelling on a mistake that ended his streak of five consecutive wins and kept him from increasing his advantage.
Hamilton missed a chance to win at Interlagos on Sunday after going off the track while in close pursuit of his Mercedes teammate, and saw his points lead cut to 17 ahead of the race in Abu Dhabi, where double points are on offer.
Rosberg needs to win the season-ending grand prix on November 23 and hope Hamilton finishes third or worse.
"We saw he made a mistake, so anything can happen in the last race," says Rosberg, the German trying to win his first F1 title.
"It's good to see. I hope it has slightly dented his confidence. Mental (strength) is a big part of the sport, that's for sure."
Hamilton, seeking his second world title, says he will not drive conservatively in Abu Dhabi despite his advantage in the standings.
"I'll be pushing just as hard," he says. "It's everything to play for in the last race. I'm looking forward to it."
Needing just a second place, Hamilton is in a good position considering how dominant Mercedes has been this season. The team has finished 1-2 a record 11 times, and Hamilton was out of the top two only four times in 18 races.
"There is zero comfort going into the next race," Hamilton says. "There are 50 points to gain - that has never happened in Formula One before, and it just so happens to be this season. In the last race, you never know what is going to happen, so I'm going into it to win."
Rosberg was third in Abu Dhabi last year, four spots ahead of Hamilton. The same scenario next week would be enough to give Rosberg the title. Rosberg must finish fifth or better to keep his chances alive.
"It's going to be a great battle," he says. "Lewis is a great competitor and always on the edge, so it will be an exciting race to watch in Abu Dhabi."