By Daniel Wilson.
Nico Rosberg produced a faultless performance to beat teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton to victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The German fended off the Englishman in a close battle through the last 15 laps to secure the win and close the gap in the championship to 17 points going into the final double-points race in Abu Dhabi in a fortnight.
However, it was Williams’ Felipe Massa who stole the race as he came through to finish third, much to the delight of the home crowd.
McLaren’s Jenson Button continued his recent run of good form, despite an uncertain future, to come home fourth ahead of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.
Fernando Alonso passed a two-stopping Kimi Raikkonen to give the Ferrari’s a sixth and seventh place finish ahead of Nico Hulkenburg and Kevin Magnussen, while Valterri Bottas’ two long pit stops meant he only achieved one point in tenth.
Unlike in many previous years, all 18 cars got off the line and through the Senna s’s without incident. Rosberg controlled the gap to Hamilton throughout the short first stint as cars pitted after just five or six laps due to the extreme track temperatures.
The two Mercedes continued in close formation until the second round of pit stops. Rosberg pitted on lap 26 while Hamilton pumped a very quick time in as he looked to jump his teammate. However, the second lap proved costly as he spun at Turn 4 due to his overheating and worn rear tyres.
This meant the Brit came out seven seconds behind Rosberg after his stop, but he closed the gap down to two seconds by the final round of tyre changes.
We were then set for a thrilling conclusion as Hamilton continued to use DRS to close down his teammate, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. Rosberg proved for the first time this season that he can beat Lewis in a straight wheel-to-wheel fight.
However, it wasn’t such a rosy day for Daniel Ricciardo who retired mid-way through the race with a suspension failure on the front left of the car. That brings to an end 15 straight points finishes in F1.
So, we are set for a dramatic showdown now in Abu Dhabi. Lewis only needs to finish second, but reliability will be the prime concern throughout the weekend.
I just hope that we have a clean, trouble free race. Bring it on!
What did you make of Rosberg’s performance?
Was Massa the star of the day?
Predictions for Abu Dhabi?
Leave your thoughts and comments below!