Forget Lewis, Vettel is Rosberg’s greatest indictment

Lewis Hamilton lies on the precipice of a third World Championship, the Briton a considerable prospect of invoking title-elect status at the United States Grand Prix in Austin this weekend.

Though the 30-year old’s campaign has been peerless, cantering towards a second consecutive crown with ease, it is the name lying second in the drivers’ standings which is the greatest indictment on team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Sebastian Vettel has represented a model of consistency throughout his maiden campaign at Ferrari, gleaning eleven podiums, finishing inside the top five at each event – save for his dramatic penultimate lap blowout at the Belgian Grand Prix whilst running third, condemning him to twelfth.

That he has enjoyed the same three victories as his countryman is academic. The four-time champion has established himself as not only the greatest threat to Hamilton for the balance of this campaign – however minute this prospect may be, but for the foreseeable future.

The erstwhile stance had been to dismiss Vettel’s swag of titles achieved at Red Bull as owing purely to the ingenuity of Adrian Newey. A wanting 2014 campaign led many to contemplate his ongoing commitment to Formula One. It stands to reason that many labelled his move to Marenello twelve months ago as career suicide.

Having witnessed the inexplicable souring of relations between Fernando Alonso and company – a combination deemed a match made in heaven, the consensus was that nobody could rescue the Prancing Horse from the abyss, yet the German has comprehensively silenced his executioners this season.

Where this leaves Rosberg poses the greatest dilemma, not that many are overly concerned. The reality is that the brand presented by the victor of 11 Grands Prix is uninspiring – notwithstanding a spate of reliability issues, he is not an individual exuding World Champion material.

He is a renowned nice guy who attempts to portray a rough and ready persona, though frequently to no avail when it counts. Hamilton, conversely, possesses a veneer of aloofness – yet it is he who delivers most weekends, as opposed to only Sundays as was the case in 2014. The effect is that 2016 looms as the campaign which defines Rosberg’s career.

Rubens Barrichello realised this rapidly during his colourful tenure at Maranello. He was a defeated man the moment he let Michael Schumacher through metres from the chequered flag at the infamous 2002 Austrian Grand Prix. Mark Webber was acutely aware that he was second-billing shortly following Vettel’s arrival at Milton Keynes from Toro Rosso in 2009.

So long as Hamilton remains at Brackley and claiming the majority of races, he is their main man. Having renewed his association with the Silver Arrows until 2018, it’s hard to see the Briton succumbing to the German’s meek advances. Perhaps Rosberg is content to drive out his days, picking up the occasional victory and handsomely remunerated for his efforts.

It’s the other German who poses the greatest threat to the Hamilton-Mercedes supremacy, in tandem with his red machine, a mouth-watering prospect which has been sadly lacking in recent seasons.

 

As though a potential second place in the standings in his initial campaign for the fabled marque isn’t incentive enough, Sebastian Vettel is going to be the man taking it to Lewis Hamilton in the years to come. For Rosberg, the equation is simple – he must shape up or ship out, otherwise he’ll represent a mere footnote in the record books.

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Rosberg title bid at crossroads

Rosberg title bid at crossroads

Successive victories – the latter an inherited gift courtesy of his team-mate, though first place all the same, followed by a close-run second last weekend at Montreal, betrays the notion that Nico Rosberg is in contention for the drivers’ championship.

The German is yet to take the fight to Lewis Hamilton in direct wheel-to-wheel combat this season – much less emerge superior, the cornerstone of a successful title campaign. Embellished is an appropriate adjective to summarise the 29-year old’s season. A third consecutive triumph on the now infamous afternoon at Monaco, served to embellish Rosberg’s legitimacy to the crown.

In reality, the imminent father was comprehensively outclassed that day. Good fortune intervened, that which is unlikely to be witnessed subsequently for the balance of the season. Thus the German must improve other components of his racecraft, not necessarily huge inroads, yet small ones in each field which, executed correctly, has the potential to provide Hamilton with crippling migraines, as opposed to the occasional mild headache.

Analogous to Kimi Räikkönen’s Saturday woes which has left the Finn with too much to achieve the next day, Rosberg has seldom managed to best Hamilton in Q3 this season. His peerless Spanish weekend serves as an anomaly rather than a constant, this serving the case for his team-mate and reigning champion.

That Hamilton has raised his game to another level in his title defence is undeniable. Further apparent is that Rosberg hasn’t been the same beast since the cataclysmic microsecond at Belgium last season. Admonishment for the episode cut deeply into his psyche, manifesting in the defining moment of his campaign at Monza a fortnight later, carrying on at Variante Rettifilo – conceding the lead and subsequently, victory to Hamilton. Brazil excepted, he didn’t share the same page as the Briton for the balance of the season, a notion which has persisted to the present.

The German trails Hamilton by seventeen points. Not quite the equivalent of a second place, it doesn’t take a great deal to reverse the situation. Realising this, then carrying on with the form which enacted it is another matter. Following the infamous afternoon in the Ardennes forest last season, Rosberg held an ostensibly decisive 29-point advantage over his team-mate with seven races in hand.

Three events later – at the conclusion of the Singapore Grand Prix, Rosberg was trailing Hamilton by three points following an untimely electronics failure which culminated in retirement. Though he ultimately recovered to finish second, his lock-up into turn one at the inaugural Russian Grand Prix on the opening lap was the act of a desperate individual vainly attempting to avert fate.

It was at the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix’s corresponding event twelve months ago that a rare unforced error by Hamilton during qualifying handed the German the initiative, which he seized. These are the outcomes Rosberg needs to encourage, by harassing and being a little bold.

His team-mate’s proclivity to use scenarios such as those witnessed in the fallout from the Monaco qualifying fiasco and the Belgium debacle last season, to mould the image of a man wronged – in a similar fashion to Ayrton Senna, is when Hamilton is dually at his most vulnerable and potent.

This is a risk which Rosberg must assess in the heat of the moment, he is at such a crossroads in his campaign that another Belgium moment would be understandable. To quote the iconic Fargo character, Lorne Malvo, “Maps used to say, there be dragons here. Now they don’t, but that don’t mean the dragons aren’t there.” Translated, such acts are frowned upon and met with contempt, yet you don’t win World Championships without being ruthless.

Just because running into a driver is condemned, doesn't mean it can't happen.

Just because running into a driver is condemned, doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Rosberg’s legacy arguably hinges on this season, much in the manner that Mark Webber initially came within touching distance of glory, made a series of errors which were cumulatively enough to cruel his chances and never again came close to greatness for the balance of his career. Rosberg must look into his soul and ask himself, “is this what you want?”

Flyaway Lewis – title Hamilton’s to lose

Lewis Hamilton returns to Europe with the momentum necessary to claim a second consecutive championship.

The Briton’s victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix consummated a dominant flyaway experience, conceding just seven points from the maximum yield across the four events.

Though his dominance isn’t entirely surprising, the revelation that Mercedes has a genuine fight on its’ hands courtesy of a resurgent Ferrari certainly is. The notion “be careful what you wish for” is applicable upon contemplating Nico Rosberg’s post-Australian Grand Prix lamentation that it was all too easy for the German marque.

We didn’t have to wait long for this realisation – a fortnight on, Malaysia delivered this moment, with Sebastian Vettel capitalising on an early safety car and warm conditions to deliver Ferrari their first victory in nearly two years.

The four-time champion seems like an individual who has fallen back in love with the sport following his indifferent 2014 campaign and subsequent switch to Italian marque.

Whilst not as potent at China, Ferrari’s pace was adequate enough that Rosberg engaged in an extraordinary post-race outburst directed at his team-mate, accusing Hamilton of backing him into Vettel’s path. Tension over the threat from third place wouldn’t have been fathomable twelve months ago, let alone caused by the Italian marque, Stefano Domenicali having resigned prior to the corresponding event.

Meanwhile, another lap at Bahrain and the likelihood of Kimi Räikkönen prevailing – with a little assistance from brake-by-wire failure on both Silver Arrows, was greater than distinct.

The Finn finally enjoyed a trouble free run, showing flashes of the reputation garnered in his McLaren days. His tandem with technical director James Allison harks back to the Lotus days, with the SF15T bearing characteristics akin to the packages Räikkönen enjoyed success with in 2012 & 2013. If he keeps up these performances, a contract extension which appeared so unlikely last season is surely a formality.

As it is, a massive wake-up call has been handed to Brackley. The days of resting on their laurels, whilst cruising and collecting on Sundays are a distant memory.

For all that Ferrari has achieved to date, the fact stands that it is going to take something majestic to reign in Hamilton. The 30-year old has remained oblivious to his team-mate’s antics, and mentally appears in a place where only the most concerted effort can destabilise his tranquillity. The breakthrough title last season , even the ongoing contractual limbo

Rosberg conversely edges closer to the dreaded number two status with each race. His China antics were not unrelated to this frustration. If the German fails to enjoy the better of his team-mate by Monaco – arguably his home race having resided there for the majority of his life, not to mention that he has claimed the past two events, the call will surely be imminent. That he has beaten Hamilton just once in eleven attempts since their infamous collision at Belgium begs the question whether he can ever regain the form which saw him lead the standings for the majority of the season.

Williams hasn’t slipped in the strictest sense, yet they haven’t made the presumed evolution expected following their sensational 2014 resurgence, instead usurped by Ferrari. Podiums and victories aren’t on the cards yet, however solid top six placings have laid a strong foundation to push for greater outcomes. Valtteri Bottas took the majority of the flyaway phase to recover from his back injury which ruled him out of the Australian Grand Prix, but reminded everybody of his talent in holding off Vettel for fourth at Bahrain. Felipe Massa looks the most at ease behind the wheel since his near-title winning days, giving the Finn a much closer run for his money than expected.

With Red Bull a shadow of their former glory, Daniel Ricciardo has extracted the maximum from an uncompetitive chassis & power unit. The energy drinks company and supplier Renault engaged in a war of words in the lead up to Malaysia, but both parties appear to have realised no success will come from this.  If Renault can provide worthy upgrades, the Australian has an opportunity to compete regularly for top five positions, though it is unlikely that he will repeat his glorious 2014 campaign which yielded three victories and third in the standings. Daniil Kvyat has struggled to find his feet following a solitary season at Toro Rosso, the Russian will need to lift his game if he wants to retain his seat.

At the junior outfit, Max Verstappen has been a revelation despite non-finishes at three of the four events. His race combat reminds many of a certain Ayrton Senna. Not yet of age, the Dutchman will be going places in a hurry if the potential witnessed in his first four races is anything to draw on. Indeed, he could be eyeing off Kvyat’s seat if power unit upgrades allow him to capitalise on the raw speed he possesses.

Lotus and Sauber have both made huge inroads on dismal 2014 campaigns, the former benefiting from a switch to Mercedes power despite early reliability issues, whilst the Swiss outfit has enjoyed the much improved Ferrari offering despite the off-track woes which blighted their Australian Grand Prix preparations. Force India is still running what is essentially last season’s challenger, and having missed the opening test, didn’t appear to be in great shape. However, they have gleaned solid points at Australia and Bahrain, with a B-spec car due for the Austrian Grand Prix.

McLaren continues to make inroads at a snails’ pace, Jenson Button having endured a nightmare weekend at Bahrain which culminated in his first non-start in a decade. Fernando Alonso eventually marked his return at Malaysia, with the details of his pre-season accident still causing much debate. Points are realistic in the near future, it’s a question of patience for the Woking squad.

Last but not least, the herculean efforts by Marussia to remain on the grid resulted in their belated on-track presence at Malaysia. Will Stevens was forced to wait until China to race, but has since outshone Roberto Merhi – the Spaniard a race by race proposition pending his commercial package. They too have an updated chassis, accompanied by the improved Ferrari power unit in the wings as the season progresses.

An analysis of the flyaway events and team outcomes at each will be released in coming days. Some outfits performed as predicted, whilst others surprised – not always for the right reasons. Prospective fortunes as Formula One buckles up for the return to European heartland will also be discussed.

Can Ferrari sustain their momentum and take the fight to Mercedes for the balance of the season, or is it all in vein as Lewis Hamilton goes about his business unperturbed by outside influences?

 

Now or never for Nico

Nico Rosberg must defeat Lewis Hamilton this weekend, lest his title bid will lie in tatters.

Bahrain is just the fourth event of a nineteen-race calendar, yet it is imperative Rosberg gleans a result of substance prior to the European season commencement. This doesn’t necessarily entail victory, rather, outperforming his team-mate in convincing fashion.

Contemplating his post-China outburst, this is unlikely. The German cast a psychologically tormented soul during the press conference, accusing Hamilton of “thinking about yourself with the pace in front… compromising my race.” Hamilton deftly upheld his belief that “it’s not my job to look after Nico’s race. My job is to manage the car and bring the car home as healthy and as fast as possible.”

Unless Rosberg is willing to leave everything on the race track, he’s going to go home empty handed on each occasion. Working on the assumption that Hamilton was indeed backing into Sebastian Vettel, it is mystifying that Rosberg didn’t counter with an offensive attack on the reigning champion, and not the one which came during the press conference. The Briton remarked as much,”if Nico wanted to get by he could have tried but he didn’t.”

The points margin separating the pair is immaterial so long as one doesn’t have the belief they can win. Hamilton first and Rosberg second at Bahrain would render a 24-point gap – the equivalent of victory. On paper, the deficit could be neutralised by a Hamilton DNF and Rosberg victory at Spain, yet from a momentum perspective, coming home behind Hamilton on a fourth successive occasion would have lethal consequences for the intra-team dynamics, if they’re not already skewed heavily in his team-mate’s favour.

Rosberg engaged in his own set of gamesmanship at Monaco little under 12 months’ ago when he ran off the circuit in the dying stages of qualifying, triggering yellow flags and thus denying Hamilton a chance to claim pole position. The German harvested the momentum in spite of a seething Hamilton – who went so far to say he’d contemplate Senna-Japan ’90 tactics as retribution, to enjoy victory.

The Monaco 2014-prototype Nico Rosberg has been missing since the infamous collision at Belgium –  itself borne from tense wheel-to-wheel combat with Hamilton during the previous race at Hungary, from which point the momentum has been squarely with the Briton. Indeed, the German has prevailed over Hamilton just once in the subsequent ten events.

Rosberg made the magnanimous gesture of limping to the chequered flag at the Abu Dhabi season finale, in the knowledge that Hamilton would be champion. It is apparent that this microcosm of their year-long rivalry has manifested into tacit acknowledgement by Rosberg that Hamilton is the better driver even if he refuses to admit as much.

Twelve months ago, Rosberg got his elbows out and in unison with his team-mate, provided one of the season’s spectacles with a battle spanning the duration of the race. Though he didn’t prevail, Rosberg was afforded much respect on that evening. If ever there was a time to rediscover this brand, it is now, Lewis Hamilton doesn’t need to be asked twice whether he wants to win.

Ferrari is enjoying rapid progress – as it stands, Vettel leads Rosberg in the standings. The German doesn’t want to find himself trailing the four-time champion by Monaco, otherwise the inevitable call will be made for all attentions to be diverted to Hamilton’s campaign.

There will be no race for Hamilton to compromise if he doesn’t have to worry about Rosberg – who in a supporting role would be assigned to compromise the Ferraris, so the time has come for Rosberg to make Hamilton worry, it’s now or never.

 

Hamilton quits F1 for rap career

*APRIL FOOLS! – NOW IF HE REALLY WERE TO DO THIS, IMAGINE THE CHAOS!*

Lewis Hamilton has stunned the world following news that he is retiring from Formula One in order to pursue a career in rap.

The announcement comes in spite of recent speculation that the reigning champion would renew his Mercedes contract for a further three seasons, with the Briton citing the disappointment of second place at last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix as a catalyst for the about face.

“This will be my final season as a Formula One driver. It hasn’t been an easy decision, but after Malaysia I had plenty of time for soul searching and coming second isn’t what makes me happy, making music is. “, Hamilton said.

Having competed in his 150th Grand Prix at Malaysia, the 30-year old boasts 34 victories and a formidable 72 podiums, complemented by 40 pole positions.

Hamilton made his debut with McLaren in 2007, enjoying a spectacular campaign which saw him stand on the podium at each of his first nine races – delivering his maiden victory at just his sixth start. Though he squandered the drivers’ standings lead in dramatic circumstances at the final event, the Briton quickly atoned, becoming the sport’s then youngest World Champion twelve months later.

Four subsequent seasons at Woking failed to deliver the promised second title, with Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel claiming all before them, yet the announcement of his switch to Mercedes from 2013 was greeted with derision.

As McLaren floundered in his absence, Hamilton silenced critics with an imperious 2014 campaign, and despite a hotly-contested intra-team battle with Nico Rosberg, eleven victories left no doubt surrounding the legitimacy of his second championship.

Hamilton later tweeted “It’s been a blessing to enjoy so much support since I came into the sport, so many memories. Two titles, who knows, maybe a third? #blessed.”

A second consecutive title and a further seven victories throughout his final campaign would draw Hamilton level with the three championships and forty-one victories enjoyed by childhood idol, Ayrton Senna.

Despite being two races into a nineteen-event season, attention will undoubtedly turn to the identity of Hamilton’s replacement. The most coveted berth in recent history, Fernando Alonso immediately springs to mind, with the Spaniard presently mired in an unhappy reunion at McLaren and speculation regarding the true nature of his pre-season testing accident still rampant.

Valtteri Bottas has been mentioned in the past, and come November, the Finn will be prepared to rise to another level following three seasons at the forefront of the Williams resurrection. Nico Hülkenberg could finally be afforded the opportunity to advance from the midfield with a strong campaign.

The German marque’s reserve driver, Pascal Wehrlein, would represent a left-field internal promotion, yet a refreshing show of faith and statement of intent from the Mercedes powerholders that its’ commitment to Formula One is unwavering in the wake of Hamilton’s exit. The German acquitted himself sufficiently during pre-season testing duties for both Mercedes and Force India at Barcelona.

There are seventeen races left to admire Lewis Hamilton the racing car driver. He certainly won’t be lost the spotlight – once his music career ignites, he will become more prolific than imaginable had he remained in motorsport. There had never been a character quite like him in Formula One prior to his arrival, and there is unlikely to be one following his departure.

F1 2014 – The Best Man Won

Lewis Hamilton is World Champion once more and nobody is denying his worthiness. Six seasons after claiming his first crown in controversial circumstances, the 29-year old finally boasts multiple titles.

Anybody who delivers eleven victories in a campaign is befitting of the ultimate prize – yet for Hamilton, a second championship was long overdue.

Hamilton was a victim of impatience in 2010 – costly errors at Italy and Singapore sacrificed crucial points which should have been enough for the title, whilst unreliability cruelled his 2012 campaign when he was arguably the best driver with the fastest package that season. The sight of his MP4-27 crawling to a halt whilst commandingly leading a race was an all too common sight.

This proved the catalyst for his much derided call to fly the coop when he departed McLaren following six campaigns and many preceding years as part of the British marque’s family, for a Mercedes outfit which had left much to be desired since its’ return to the sport as a manufacturer in 2010.

24 months later, whilst the Woking squad has floundered in Hamilton’s absence, the gamble has paid dividends. A fresh environment, coupled with a new set of regulations, saw Hamilton equipped from the outset with a package which represented the overwhelming class of the field, and he didn’t squander his advantage.

His ultimately successful campaign commenced with a whimper as he suffered power failure at Australia, whilst team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg capitalised with victory. Hamilton responded with four consecutive victories to assume the standings lead following Spain, from which point tensions between the two long-time friends became apparent. Rosberg’s actions during qualifying at Monaco – locking his brakes and running off the circuit, triggering an early conclusion to the session and thus claiming pole position, would prove to be the first of several incidents between the pair.

Setbacks during qualifying at Austria, Great Britain and Hungary threatened to hand Rosberg the initiative, yet tenacious performances by the Briton limited the fallout. His performance at the latter, muscling past his team-mate for third in the dying laps re-ignited the hostilities, which would boil over following the summer break.

The events of Belgium doesn’t require a great deal of attention, but what can be gleaned in retrospect is that it served as the crossroads for Hamilton’s campaign. When his tyre was punctured by Rosberg – who was trying to prove a point, the incident had the ability to sink the Briton’s season.

What followed at Monza was a renewed Hamilton, with Rosberg – whether it was a result of wilting under pressure from a rapidly gaining team-mate, or an order to redress the outcome of the previous race, committed a mid-race error which handed Hamilton victory.

The standings lead which had been Rosberg’s since Monaco, returned to Hamilton under lights at Singapore as Rosberg encountered an issue on the installation lap and ultimately, retirement. Hamilton was forced to fight for victory however, following a safety car deployment and late pitstop. His triumph effectively represented the moment the Briton put himself on the path to becoming champion.

A solemn victory at Japan, followed by a commanding performance at Russia – with another Rosberg error at turn one offering Hamilton even more satisfaction. He was outqualified by the German at Austin, but showed his maturity in biding his time and pouncing for the lead mid-race, a fifth consecutive victory.

A rare error at Brazil handed Rosberg a crucial victory, and with this, enough for the battle to go down to the wire within the spectrum of the standard points offering in the face of the controversial double points on offer at the finale.

It would prove academic as Rosberg fell down the field on raceday, with Hamilton left to his own devices, to soak up the significance of what he was on the verge of achieving, unlike the events of six years prior, when he didn’t know he was champion until he had crossed the line.

An eleventh victory capped a season where the best man came out on top.

It could be said with a car that was essentially unchallenged all season when reliability was not a concern, that all Hamilton had to do was turn up to be champion. Yet, it was he who made the call those years ago when everybody said it would be the end of his career, he knew something others didn’t, and he reaped the rewards.

 

 

 

The final countdown – Hamilton vs. Rosberg

The Formula One record books will attribute the surname of the individual who is crowned the 2014 World Champion with two drivers’ titles following Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Only the former – Lewis Hamilton, is already champion in his own right, having triumphed in spectacular circumstances in 2008. Nico Rosberg is yet to taste the ultimate success – he will be hoping to emulate father Keke’s glory, achieved thirty-two years earlier.

Hamilton’s ten victories versus Rosberg’s five to date spearheads the notion that the former is the deserving champion, yet it needs to be remembered that Rosberg Sr. saluted just once on the way to his 1982 title. Then, no driver won more than twice. Food for thought. Hamilton himself won on one fewer occasion (5) than rival Felipe Massa (6) in ’08 – but the debate surrounding that season’s controversial Belgian Grand Prix is always going to be drawn into the equation. Let’s leave this theory alone.

All that matters now is what transpires under the lights at Yas Marina on Sunday evening. And the small factor of double points. The permutations which lend itself to the outcome as a result of this innovation – not long for the sport based on recent conjecture, means barring some unforeseen spanner in the works – mechanical failure, or on a potentially sinister level – a collision, that the identity of the champion won’t be known until the chequered flag.

Simply, Hamilton needs to finish second and he is a multiple champion – and it only gets easier if Rosberg isn’t the driver ahead. The Briton has everything to lose, and little to gain by engaging in brinkmanship. Not that he will be content to park his car behind his team-mate following the first corner. Memories of a commanding lead heading into the 2008 finale and only scraping home by the skin of his teeth courtesy of a penultimate corner pass means Hamilton will be reluctant to leave anything to chance.

The 29-year old endured rotten luck in the first half of his campaign. His first race at Australia lasted just three laps, whilst brake failure at Canada and issues during qualifying at Austria, Germany and Hungary severely hampered his fortunes on race day. That he salvaged podium placings in each situation is testament to his resilience, these points could be the deciding factor.

Rosberg, conversely, is in the position of relying on every factor working in his favour. Perhaps this is a good thing – he knows that he must win the race to give himself the most amount of breathing space in the instance of Hamilton encountering problems. Finishing second, with Hamilton fifth, for instance, would not be sufficient for the German to complete the second father-son title feat. But first, he needs to beat Hamilton into the first corner, anything less and he’s leaving his hopes to divine intervention.

Though the German has seldom outraced his team-mate on-track this season – he was beaten in a straight fight at Bahrain and Spain, and was pressured into a costly error at Italy, his consistency has kept him in contention for the duration of his campaign. Ten second placings are hard to criticise, it could be than an eleventh is enough to secure the crown – but a victory would go a long way to ensuring he is viewed a a worthy champion.

Sebastian Vettel – yesterday confirmed in the season’s equally worst kept secret as a Ferrari driver for 2015, will be looking to sign off his Red Bull legacy on a high note. With four titles in six seasons at the senior outfit, and seven and a half seasons representing the energy drinks umbrella in the sport, the German could be a surprise player this weekend. Whether he meddles in the Mercedes shoot-out is questionable, but the 27-year old has a rich history at the venue, triumphing three times in the event’s five year history.

Fernando Alonso – who will mark his final appearance for Ferrari and is almost certainly bound for a return to McLaren, will also be keen conclude the failed partnership on a high note. Regardless, both parties will go their separate ways following Sunday evening with a bitter taste, so near yet so far on multiple occasions before things fell away spectacularly in the past two campaigns.

Caterham could be marking its’ swansong in the sport having been successful in crowdfunding – despite the dubious nature of the scheme in relation to the administrators. It can only be hoped they aim higher than a token five lap trundle to claim their presence.

Sunday will mark the conclusion of the first campaign for the polarising turbo-era and with this, an intensification in debate about the future of the sport. Two outfits in Caterham and Marussia – in any proposed guise, are set to be non-starters next season, with a large question mark surrounding several others.

The old saying is whoever is champion deserved to win. Whilst it can be argued that one deserves it more than the other, there is no doubting that both individuals are worthy of being in the position to contend for the ultimate prize.