Lewis Hamilton says F1 title showdown "biggest day of life"

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Abu Dhabi GP: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to crucial pole
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Date: Sunday 23 November Race starts: 13:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Radio 5 live and online from 10:00 GMT

Lewis Hamilton says his Formula 1 title showdown with Nico Rosberg in Abu Dhabi will be "the biggest day of my life", while his Mercedes team-mate insists all the pressure is on the Briton.

Rosberg beat Hamilton to pole position and said: "Lewis has everything to lose and I have everything to gain".

Hamilton is 17 points clear of the German and will win his second drivers' title even if he finishes second.

The 29-year-old said he does not "pay much attention" to Rosberg's comments.

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Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg: rivals from the start

Ahead of the last race of the season, Hamilton said: "My number one focus tomorrow is just doing the best I can and driving the way I have been driving for quite some time.

"You want to get the pole, but just because I'm second doesn't mean we can't win.

"You can't really measure how big it is. It is obviously the biggest day of my life."

Hamilton and Rosberg have fought a near private battle for the title all season as their Mercedes car has been a class above the rest of the field.

But the childhood friends, who were team-mates when they raced go-karts aged 14, have seen that relationship tested this season.

Hamilton & Rosberg's karting boss Dino Chiesa
"You can't control two 15 year old boys. Every morning I would get a call from the hotel reception. They would joke fight in the room.
"One time, all the pillows, mattresses and everything was out of the windows. Then I had a big call from reception."

Wheel-to-wheel battles and clashes on and off the track have stoked their rivalry as the season finale edged closer.

And thanks to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone's idea to introduce double points for the first time at the final race, Hamilton must now finish second, rather than sixth, to claim the title, adding more tension to an already anxious fight.

Formula 1 has headed to the desert and the spectacular Yas Marina on Yas Island for the title-deciding showdown, built on land reclaimed from the sea specifically to host a grand prix.

Lewis Hamilton
Pharrell Williams says he has enjoyed watching his friend Lewis Hamilton grow into the driver he is today

The event produces spectacular images, with the race starting in daylight and ending in darkness and under floodlights, with the Yas Hotel that straddles the circuit using its 5,389 pivoting LED panes to produce a stunning light show.

The venue hosts just 41,000 people, but the focus is on offering a luxury experience and race-goers are rewarded with nightly post-event concerts from artists such as Pharrell Williams, The Who and DJ Armin van Buuren.

Rosberg said: "The pressure is on Lewis. I have to keep the pressure on him and hope he makes a mistake, which we saw in Brazil."

Double jeopardy: Hamilton v Rosberg for the title
Hamilton now has a 17-point lead over Rosberg with a maximum of 50 points remaining at the final race in Abu Dhabi. Hamilton can win the title by finishing second to Rosberg. But should he finish third or lower, victory would make Rosberg champion.
All the title permutations for the final race

Hamilton made errors on his two laps in final qualifying and lost out to Rosberg in the battle for pole by 0.386secs.

But the Englishman pointed out that Rosberg himself had made an error in the second part of qualifying, which forced him to do one more lap than planned on the set of tyres with which he will start the race.

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Hamilton v Rosberg - key moments

"Hopefully that will have an effect tomorrow," said Hamilton. "He's trying everything possible in his head to try to find a way to deal with things. He did a good job in Q3 and I'll try to make up for that in the race."

Hamilton said he had not yet decided how to approach the race but insisted: "My aim is to win, as always."

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix coverage details

Full final qualifying results

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton has remained the picture of calm throughout the final stages of the 2013/2014 season
Lewis Hamilton during Qualifying in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the only twilight race on the F1 calendar, starting before sundown and ending under floodlights
Geri Halliwell and Prince Harry
Geri Halliwell and Prince Harry watched qualifying from the Red Bull garage
Michelle Rodriguez
Fast and Furious star Michelle Rodriguez was another guest of Red Bull's today

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