The German is one win away from the title, but, as guest writer Ismail VedAt explains, Lewis Hamilton’s history at INterlagos is hard to ignore.
If Nico Rosberg wants to become world champion for the first time and wrap up the drivers’ championship, all he has to do is win the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Rosberg has seen his lead in the standings trimmed from 33 points to just 19 over the last two races, after his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton won in Austin and Mexico. Rosberg had no answers for the pace Hamilton showed in those races. But with Brazil and Abu Dhabi remaining on the 2016 calendar, Rosberg can almost taste world championship glory.
The German has triumphed in Brazil in each of the last two seasons, which is two more than what Hamilton has managed to do in almost 10 years in coming to Interlagos.
The Brazilian Grand Prix has been a race of contrasting fortunes for Hamilton. It was here in his debut season in 2007 where he was leading the championship, only to lose positions at the start of the Grand Prix by being too aggressive and locking up his brakes and going off the track at Turn 4. The Briton also encountered gearbox problems later on in the race, and it was that which ultimately cost him the title as Kimi Raikkonen became world champion.
A year later in 2008, Hamilton found himself battling Felipe Massa for the title. Hamilton only needed to finish fifth or higher to win. Massa won the race, and for around 10 seconds he was world champion as Hamilton was lower than fifth on the final lap. Then, Timo Glock in his Toyota on dry tyres, lost places on the final corner as the rain began to fall, and Hamilton passed him to cross the line in fifth.
Both Ferrari and McLaren garages were celebrating thinking their drivers had won the world championship. But just a few seconds later it dawned upon Ferrari that it was Hamilton who had done what he needed to do in order to fend off Massa and become champion for the first time.
Even though Hamilton hasn’t won at Brazil, the Briton has had enough experiences, both good and bad, to compensate for it. Hamilton currently has the momentum and will want to make it a hat-trick of wins to take this year’s title fight down to the wire in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month.
Rosberg, though, has other ideas. If he wins, he follows in his father Keke’s footsteps in becoming world champion, which would make the Rosbergs only the second father-and-son duo to win a world title after Graham and Damon Hill.
If Hamilton wants to win three consecutive titles in a row and a fourth world championship, he’ll need to do something that he has never achieved in Brazil in order to keep the challenge alive, and that is reach the top step of the podium come Sunday.
Brazilian Grand Prix title permutations:
If Hamilton wins, Rosberg can’t be world champion.
If Hamilton is second, Rosberg needs to win.
If Hamilton is third, Rosberg needs to win.
If Hamilton is fourth, Rosberg needs to finish second.
If Hamilton is fifth, Rosberg needs to finish second.
If Hamilton is sixth, Rosberg needs to finish third.
If Hamilton is seventh, Rosberg needs to finish third.
If Hamilton is eighth, Rosberg needs to finish fourth.
If Hamilton is ninth, Rosberg needs to finish fifth.
If Hamilton is tenth, Rosberg needs to finish sixth.