Abu Dhabi: The dark disappointing race of the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be fresh in the mind of Nico Rosberg as he gears up to seal the title in Abu Dhabi, enjoying a 12-point lead over Mercedes McClaren teammate Lewis Hamilton heading into Sunday’s showdown.
Two years back, the title race lit up in Abu Dhabi following the introduction of the debatable double points scoring system for the final race.
Hamilton needed to finish in the top two to guarantee the championship. Rosberg, despite starting on pole, lost the edge to Hamilton at the first corner and then on lap 23 all hell broke loose as his Energy Recovery System failed and, along with loss of speed, his title hope also vanished.
Unlike in 2014 where Rosberg was trying to hunt down Hamilton, this year’s contest needs nothing extravagant from the German.
Even if Hamilton wins the race, Rosberg will clinch the bigger prize if he crosses the line third.
“I’m here to win and not think about who might or not come in between or behind me,” Rosberg said in the pre-race driver’s press conference. “I’m here to win and I know with the car that I have and the form I am in, I can do that. I am just focusing on that,” added Rosberg asserting that, he will do everything in his powers to put up a strong finish.
“The most important thing to do is have an awesome performance because that will bring both [a win and the world title]. I’m doing whatever it takes to produce the best performance and that is the same as all the other races.”
The German was also of the view that the need of the hour was to stay calm and not get your mind cluttered.
“This is one more race, I want to keep it simple going for the race win and not think about anything else which could happen. That is what feels like the right approach for me and that is what I am sticking with,” said Rosberg, who has been Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes since 2013.
Though both know each other since their childhood days on the carting circuit, their relationship has gone through a rough patch. “We still have the basic respect that we had back in those early days. I have a lot of respect for Lewis inside and outside the car,” said Rosberg, who is in his 11th season and still fighting to join the elite group of Champions.
“There have been difficult moments but this year in general we have made progress. It’s generally neutral but of course it’s a difficult environment,” said the 31-year-old.
However, the way the Mercedes pair showed their competitive spirit yesterday by ignoring requests from photographers to “shake hands” before their pre-race news conference, it is clear that none of them are going to give an inch, and a tooth-and-nail battle is on the cards.