Lewis Hamilton has conceded it is now unlikely he will stop Nico Rosberg from winning the Formula 1 title after claiming his rival is “doing all he has to do” to get over the finish line and seal his maiden championship.
Hamilton has crushed his Mercedes team-mate at the last three races – including a spectacular display in the wet in Brazil – to move to within 12 points of his title rival ahead of the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on Sunday week.
But Rosberg needs only to secure a top-three finish under the floodlights to emulate his father Keke, the 1982 world champion, and finally end his long-running losing streak to Hamilton.
Indeed Hamilton, whose title defence has been hampered by poor reliability, could now end the year with more victories and pole positions than Rosberg and still miss out on the title.
“I am happy that I beat everyone, and I am happy that, with the same car as Nico – and Nico is driving at his best right now – he had nothing on me,” said Hamilton.
“Nico is doing all he has to do. He has finished every race, not had any problems, whereas I have. I am in an awkward position going into the last race.
“I don’t give up because you never know what could happen – it is unlikely – but you never know what could happen.”