Despite losing points to Lewis Hamilton in last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg arrives in Mexico City with his first chance of claiming the 2016 World Drivers’ Championship.
With twenty-six points in hand over his teammate, Rosberg could mathematically clinch the title providing he wins the race with Hamilton finishing tenth or lower. The odds of the German wrapping up the championship on Sunday are admittedly slim considering Hamilton hasn’t finished a race outside the points since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, but the possibility nevertheless highlights the impressive work Rosberg has done to come within touching distance of the crown with three races to spare.
For Hamilton, it also underlines the importance of every point, as the Briton has insisted that he will not concede defeat until the title is mathematically decided:
“The moment you give up is the moment you lose. I’ve never been one to give up and I don’t plan on starting now. There are still plenty of points available and anything is possible.”
Hamilton’s main advantage coming into this final stretch of races – aside from any potential momentum gained from his Austin win – will be that he has plenty of past experience of tight championship battles on which to draw.
By comparison, this will be the first time Rosberg has been in such a position. Given his past propensity for faltering in high-pressure situations, this first true shot at the title will be a real test of Rosberg’s new, more relaxed approach to racing – an approach which ironically surfaced at this same event last year.
“To be in a championship battle at the end of the year is awesome,” the German said, “but my approach is to keep it simple. There are many things that can happen during a race weekend which are out of your control, so it’s best to just block all that out and focus on the job at hand.
“That’s what’s worked best for me and how I feel at my strongest.”