Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg predict tight title battle in remaining eight races

Nico Rosberg wins at Spa
Nico Rosberg was celebrating in Spa - but who will be jumping for joy come the end of the season?

Lewis Hamilton says it is "game on" in the world championship battle, while Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg is treating every race "like a cup final".

Reigning champion Hamilton, 31, holds a nine-point lead over his German rival after Rosberg, also 31, was victorious in Belgium on Sunday.

That ended a run of four straight wins for the British driver, who had trailed by 43 points after four races.

Formula 1 heads to Italy this weekend, with eight races remaining.

"I'm really enjoying the battle out there right now," said Rosberg, who is attempting to emulate his father, Keke, who won the title in 1982.

"We've got several cars in the mix now which is exciting for us and the fans. I'm taking every race like a cup final."

Although Rosberg equalled Hamilton's six wins for the season in Spa, the Briton had an encouraging weekend, finishing third despite starting on the back row because of a 60-place penalty.

"Spa was about as good as damage limitation can get," said Hamilton.

"It's game on for me now with the penalties out of the way and fresh engines ready to use. I can't wait to get back out there."

The battle for the title is as tight as it has been since Hamilton and Rosberg were paired at Mercedes in 2013, with the former looking for a hat-trick of world titles.

Team head Toto Wolff believes it will remain impossible to predict a winner until the end of the season.

"My gut feeling is we will go long into the season before we see who comes out on top," he said.

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