ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – With double points on offer in the Formula One finale, there could yet be a bitter twist to the fascinating title duel between Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The childhood friends have scrapped for supremacy all year in often tense circumstances, with Rosberg in command before Hamilton roared back to take the initiative after the summer break with five consecutive wins.
Rosberg stopped the rot with a timely win in Brazil two weeks ago, profiting from a Hamilton error.
Hamilton, who leads Rosberg by 17 points, can clinch his second F1 title if he finishes second to Rosberg at the Yas Marina circuit on Sunday.
If Rosberg wins, with Hamilton third or lower, Rosberg earns his first title.
“Double points. Bit of a strange one, definitely, a bit artificial. But in the end, if that keeps the championship alive, so be it,” Rosberg said. “It’s good for the excitement. It’s the same for everybody … (I) just need to make sure to make the most of it.”
Rivals in their go-karting days, they have fallen out at times this season, and there have even been pointed accusations of unsportsmanlike conduct.
Hamilton was furious with Rosberg after an incident late in qualifying cost him pole position in Monaco. He was even more livid with the German driver in Belgium, where the team was plunged into crisis mode after Hamilton accused his rival of deliberately nudging into him and bursting his tire.