6 Moments That Shaped the Hamilton v Rosberg Title Race

All season it’s been clear that the 2016 World Championship is destined to be lifted by a Mercedes driver. But even with only one race to go, the question remains: will it be Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg's year?

It all comes down to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

With a 109 point lead over Daniel Ricciardo, only defending title holder Lewis Hamilton is in with a chance to knock his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg off the top spot. 

For the past three years, these frequently bitter rivals have been neck-and-neck, with Hamilton coming out on top and securing three world driver’s titles. Rosberg is yet to secure that ultimate prize, but with his current lead of 12 points, 2016 could well be his year.

It’s been a Rosberg-Hamilton seesaw battle all season, with both drivers taking out nine races each. But with
a maximum 25 points up for grabs in the upcoming season decider, Nico need only finish in the top three, and the title is his.

Looking back, here are six moments that shaped the upcoming showdown.

1. Rosberg takes late win in Monaco

Hamilton dominated the majority of the race, but after his team called him in for a late pit-stop, Rosberg took the lead. Despite looking to be the fastest car on the track, Hamilton was unable to pass Ferrari’s Vettel, who came in second leaving third place to Hamilton.

2. Rosberg makes it seven straight wins with Sochi

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel came into contact with Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat during the first lap, resulting in Vettel crashing out of the race, leaving the track in chaos. Once racing resumed, Hamilton, who started 10th on the grid, climbed to fourth with four laps remaining.

Due to a water pressure issue and a dominating drive by Rosberg, Hamilton was unable to claim the lead. In a convincing win, Rosberg came in 25 seconds ahead of his teammate, extending his winning streak to seven consecutive races, and a 43 point lead over Hamilton.

F1 2016


3. Singapore win gives Rosberg the lead again

It was a tough battle for Rosberg in Singapore, with Ricciardo making a late charge and closing the gap. Rosberg held the lead by just 0.4s across the finish line, celebrating his landmark 200th Grand Prix with a 21st victory.

Hamilton ended with the final podium slot, but at one time lead the race. Several tire changes and time in the pit stop allowed Rosberg to regain the lead and hold it.

4. Major upset for Hamilton in the Malaysian Grand Prix

Out front and in control for most the race, this one looked certain for Hamilton, with a 20-second lead on the Red Bull team. On lap 41, however, Hamilton’s dream race ended with his Mercedes engine failing and igniting, paving way for a Red Bull one-two.

Rosberg battled his way from 21st to claim the final podium finish, increasing his point lead over Hamilton, who cut a disconsolate figure climbing out of his crippled car. 

5. Rosberg takes out Monza

Despite Hamilton in pole-position, a lacklustre start allowed Rosberg to take the lead at the first turn and end with his first ever win at Monza, and his 50th career podium finish in Formula 1. Hamilton fought hard to reclaim his position, passing both Valtteri Bottas and Ricciardo, but the damage was done and he had to settle for fourth.

F1 2016

6. Hamilton wins drama-filled Brazil Grand Prix

In a race that was stopped and started twice due to crashes, there was drama from the start. An early lock-up had Hamilton cutting the opening corner of the race and seizing the lead. Fortunately for him it was deemed that no advantage was gained from the move, so no penalty was applied.

In a wet and chaotic race, the reigning world champion came out on top, again closing the gap and edging closer to his fourth championship title.

Don't miss the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix,  11.30pm AEST Sunday on TEN and tenplay