Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton can only hope for Nico Rosberg failure

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have taken their battle to the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi
Nico Rosberg (right) leads team-mate Hamilton by 12 points before the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the BBC
Dates: 25-27 November Venue: Yas Marina Circuit
Coverage: Live radio commentary of practice, qualifying and the race on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC Radio 5 live (final practice on BBC Sport website and app only), plus live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app

After the rawness and drama of Brazil, it is a shame in some ways for the Formula 1 World Championship to be decided in the rather more sterile surroundings of Abu Dhabi.

It is all relative, of course. No F1 grand prix is without challenge and jeopardy. But Yas Marina's large run-off areas, dearth of challenging corners, manicured backdrop and predictable weather are a world away from the intensity of Interlagos.

It looks lovely on television, with its painted borders and the shimmering Yas Viceroy hotel, the race start held at sunset, and the cars glimmering under lights.

A view of Daniel Ricciardo at the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
The Yas Marina circuit looks lovely on television but is unremarkable

But the track itself? Well, this is what Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen said when he first experienced it in 2009: "The first few turns are quite good, but the rest of it is rubbish." Except he used a ruder word than rubbish.

It is a pleasant enough weekend. Everything works. The weather is nice, especially when the sun has gone down. But as a race track, it is unremarkable.

This seems a shame, given that it was built virtually with cost no object. Why spend all that money to come up with something so… mundane?

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton can only hope

This is the third time in its eight years in F1 that Abu Dhabi will host the championship showdown and on the face of it, it is hard to see how Nico Rosberg cannot end the weekend with his first title.

His Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton excels in Abu Dhabi, especially in the last sector, where the sequence of right-angled corners fit perfectly with the way he brakes late and rotates the car into the corner using a combination of oversteer and impeccable feel and skill.

But to take a fourth title, Hamilton has to win the race and hope Rosberg finishes lower than third.

And on a track on which it is hard to see how any other team can challenge Mercedes, that will almost certainly take a mechanical failure. And the German, unlike Hamilton, has not had one of those all season.

Nico Rosberg celebrates winning the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Rosberg won the race in Abu Dhabi in 2015 - could he be celebrating the world title this time around?


BBC F1 analyst Allan McNish:

Rosberg goes to the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on 25-27 November with a 12-point lead over Hamilton.

In pure mathematical terms, it is very difficult for Hamilton to take the title - he has to win with Rosberg lower than third.

Hamilton will go all out for the race win, and I think he will do it.

Rosberg will play the percentage game, because that is the right thing to do. There is no point taking any unnecessary risks, the risky race was Brazil.

But it is the final race, and you never quite know what will happen.

Graph shows finishing positions of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton during the season so far. For full list of results, go to the results tab on the Formula 1 index
Hamilton vs Rosberg: what has happened to whom, up to Brazil

We have seen Abu Dhabi throw up a curve ball before - in 2010, when Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber were the top two in the championship and Ferrari focused so much on Webber that they let Sebastian Vettel get into a position to win the race and the title.

It is a different situation this year. There is no third contender, it won't rain and the circuit will suit Mercedes. So the race is between Hamilton and Rosberg.

But reliability and bad starts have played a role on a number of occasions this year.

Mainly, that has affected Hamilton but that's not to say that a last twist of the tale could not be in the other direction.

Andrew Benson - chief F1 writer


Graphic of the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


Sebastian Vettel celebrates winning the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel won the inaugural Abu Dhabi GP in 2009

Previous title deciders

Renault's Vitaly Petrov and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso's championship hopes were ruined in 2010 when he spent the whole race stuck behind the Renault of Vitaly Petrov, allowing Vettel to win the title
Lewis Hamilton was surrounded by photographers after winning the Abu Dhabi GP in 2014
Everyone wanted a piece of Lewis Hamilton after he secured his second drivers' championship in Abu Dhabi in 2014

Tall and lean

Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi
Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi: At 160m (520 ft) and 35 storeys high, Capital Gate is one of the tallest buildings in the city. In June 2010, Guinness World Records certified it as the "world's furthest leaning man-made tower"
Arabian Oryx
The Arabian Oryx is the national animal of the UAE and (interestingly) are able to detect rainfall from a great distance. Not related to the Onyx team which raced in F1 in 1989 and 1990
Abu Dhabi mosque
Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi is the proud owner of the world's largest hand-woven carpet. The design work took six months, the weaving a year and the finishing work a further three months to complete

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