The month is November and as we head into the season finale, Mercedes have already secured the constructor’s championship but the driver’s title is still open. The points stand at 334-317 in favour of Hamilton against Rosberg.
With the normal system, the 17-point-lead Hamilton has would mean he would need a minimum of 6th place finish to secure the title.
Credit: Nick Fewings
The new double points system by Bernie Ecclestone meant that this advantage was reduced and Hamilton needed at least P2 in the race. Rosberg was pumped up for his chances and anything was possible with how Formula One can be brutal. Mercedes on the other hand felt they needed to ensure this title fight is equal and the cars are reliable.
The double points meant that each point would essentially be equivalent to two races in that position. The normal point system is 25–18–15–12–10–8–6–4–2–1 with huge gaps being within the top 3 positions. This gap would be even larger due to the new system and that meant every driver had to be at their best.
Coming into the weekend, Rosberg was in form from clinching the Brazilian GP race win and having started to reduce the gap in the championship that he led multiple times in the year. On Saturday, Rosberg did all he could to take pole position while Hamilton had to settle for P2 on the grid. This was shaping up to be a great title fight with all to play for unlike any of the recent times.
Sunday came and soon the drivers lined up on the grid for a thriller ahead of them. “It’s lights out and away we go” and Hamilton shot up into the lead by turn 1 leaving Rosberg behind challenged by a Williams but he held onto P2.
The first pit stop rounds came and Mercedes called in Hamilton shortly followed by his teammate retaining their positions on track with Rosberg being about 2.5 seconds behind. A few lockups later and it seemed Rosberg was not having fun out there. This was shortly followed by him coming on the radio to report he was losing power. The team confirmed to him from the telemetry they had that his ERS (Energy Recovery System) had failed, this basically meant he would be down on about 160 HP. To add insult to injury, he was also having temperature issues with his rear brakes.
Hamilton was cruising in front stretching the gap to over 7 seconds to Rosberg who was having a diagnosis dialog with his race engineer over the radio. The Williams of Felipe Massa was also hounding him from the back and he soon dropped to P3. A few laps later, he wanted to settle for at least a top 6 finish. Second rounds of pits came, Hamilton and a couple of laps later his teammate followed into the pits but with no turbo, it would be difficult for him to pull from his pit box leading to Daniel Ricciardo overtaking him during this period.
At this moment, all he could do was drive flat out, try to stay in the top 6 and hope Hamilton retires from the race. His woes were far from over, he soon dropped out of point scoring position.
Meanwhile, out in the lead, Felipe Massa was slowly but surely reducing the gap to Hamilton and it all seemed like he was suffering the same fate as his teammate. The team questioned this but it became clear that Lewis was driving intentionally slower to try and prevent the same scenario befalling him.
With Rosberg in P14 and experiencing every sort of problem you can imagine, his team instructed him to pit to retire the car but he requested to be allowed to finish the race. This was showing his world class champions mentality and the team granted his wish as it was the last race. Soon he was about to be lapped by Hamilton and with a few laps to go, Lewis started to up his pace.
The chequered flag was waved for Hamilton securing his 2nd World Championship and the first driver’s title for Mercedes since 1955. Despite Rosberg losing horribly, with the stellar start Hamilton had, it all shifted in Hamilton’s favour and Rosberg was the first to acknowledge this. He later went on to congratulate Lewis in the cool down room and hoped to bring the fight to him again the next year.
All in all, the double point system meant Hamilton walked away with 384 points and Rosberg retained 317. The new system did not matter in the title fight and most, including both contenders, labelled it as ‘artificial’.
VSC (Virtual Safety Car) was the only experiment from the last few races of the season that was retained and the new double points system was scrapped altogether never to be tried again.
Till next time, find me on Twitter. Peace