Will Rosberg hold his nerve to claim first Drivers’ Championship?

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg with the Mercedes team

Lewis Hamilton earned a vital win in the Mexican Grand Prix to send the battle for the Drivers’ Championship into the penultimate race of the campaign. The 31-year-old beat out his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to close within 19 points of the German, but with just two meets in the season he is running out of time to overhaul him and clinch his third crown on the spin.

The Brit has rebounded back to his peak form after five races without finishing on top of the podium, which had allowed Rosberg to edge into a formidable lead. The German can afford to finish second behind Hamilton and still win his first title, but a single slip-up from the 31-year-old could hand his rival his fourth Drivers’ Championship.

Hamilton is backed in the latest 32Red mobile casino betting odds at 5/2 to win the crown, although he will have to be at his absolute best in Brazil and Abu Dhabi along with hoping that he avoids issues with his car, which has cost him vital points this term, none more so than his retirement in Malaysia. Two clean races from both Mercedes will ensure that the campaign ends in exciting fashion, throwing back memories to Hamilton’s first Championship success in 2008.

The Brit made his breakthrough in the sport in just his second season, but it was far from straightforward for him. Hamilton won four races over the course of the campaign, and a final victory in China put him on the brink of the Championship, knowing that a fifth-place finish in the last race of the term in Brazil would be enough to beat out Felipe Massa.

Massa was in command of the Grand Prix from the off and ran out a comfortable victory, but all eyes were on the Brit’s position towards the end of the race. He almost let the title slip from his grasp when Sebastian Vettel overtook him on the final lap, but he managed to rally to surpass Timo Glock and ensure his fifth-place finish to win the Championship by a solitary point.

Hamilton will take heart from his first experience of success in the highest level of the sport in the final two races this season. The term has been at bit like the final race of 2008 as momentum has swung between the Brit and Rosberg, with the German initially taking the impetus early in the campaign with four straight wins in Australia, Bahrain, China and Russia. Meanwhile, he struggled with mechanical issues and a lack of form behind the wheel to leave himself off the pace.

The lowest point in the season for arguably both men came in the Spanish Grand Prix when they collided with each other on the first lap just four turns into the race. The clash knocked both Mercedes out of the contest, allowing Max Verstappen to claim his first win. The underlying tension between the duo escalated, which brought the best out of Hamilton over the next two months. Hamilton won six out of the next seven races, including on his home soil at Silverstone and on Rosberg’s turf at Hockenheim, which allowed to him overtake the German at the top of the standings and claim a 19-point lead before a four-week break.

The momentum Hamilton built was lost during August, and Rosberg seized the initiative by winning three meets on the bounce in Belgium, Italy and Singapore to snatch the lead back off his team-mate ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix. There disaster struck for the Brit as he suffered major engine failure, causing him to retire from the race, which prompted a furious tirade towards his team.

Rosberg failed to take complete advantage as he finished third behind Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen, but he was able to pull further away from Hamilton with a flawless performance in Japan to put himself within striking distance of his first crown. The true nature of a champion is resilience and back-to-back wins in the United States and Mexico have given Hamilton a chance to secure a fourth Drivers’ Championship. He is strongly backed by 32Red and Unibet to emerge from Brazil victorious to ensure that the battle for the title goes down to the final race of the campaign.
It will be a test of nerve from Rosberg when he finds himself in an eerily similar situation to Hamilton in 2008 as he chases his first major success. All the German has to do is remain in the top three for both meets and he will be lifting the trophy in Abu Dhabi. However, it is far easier said than done.

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