Opinion
Formula 1

Why losing to Nico Rosberg in Abu Dhabi qualifying was the perfect outcome for Lewis Hamilton

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ByBen Snowball
22/11/2014 at 15:53
@BenSnowball

Qualifying behind his Mercedes team-mate at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix might just be the best thing to happen to Lewis Hamilton.

[NICO ROSBERG GRABS POLE FROM LEWIS HAMILTON IN TITLE-DECIDER]

Rather than squabble over the lead with Nico Rosberg during the opening laps – risking a collision and the championship – the Brit can fulfil his mission by finishing second to clinch the world title. Why would he even contemplate doing anything else?

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The chief threat to his title ambitions is an avoidable bash with Rosberg. Qualifying second means he steers clear of having a Mercedes-sized blur in his mirrors and can safely navigate the start without worrying about his team-mate's attempts to unsettle him.

1st step is done. hope the next will follow. What a car! Thanks for your support out there. Amazing.

Given the German constructors are so far clear of the rest of the field, Hamilton should simply slump around in second – matching Williams duo Valterri Bottas and Felipe Massa – and pick up the 36 points required to win his first overall crown since 2008.

[FORMULA ONE TITLE PERMUTATIONS]

It won’t be the most glamorous of victories – and a far cry from his last-gasp overtake of Timo Glock in Interlagos six years ago – but doing anything else would be absurd. He’s claimed his 10 race wins, deserves the title and can win it with a sensible drive rather than leading some pride-fuelled charge after his team-mate.

Mercedes’ domination was evident again during qualifying. The contrast between Hamilton’s shaky lap and Bottas’ flawless effort was huge – and yet it was the former who grabbed second on the grid. The Brit has no need to fear the other teams in Sunday’s finale.

I didn't have the best of laps today but tomorrow is when it counts! http://t.co/lhn0WazDWA#AbuDhabiGP#AbuDhabi#TeamLH#YasMarinaCircuit— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 22, 2014

In the scorching UAE climate, Hamilton needs to nurse his car through the heat to avoid a heart-breaking technical failure. The easier he takes it in second place, the less likely that is to occur.

[HOW LEWIS HAMILTON LEARNED TO TAME HIS DEMONS AND BECOME A WINNER]

Rosberg transformed his victorious post-qualifying press conference into a motivational one-on-one seminar for Bottas – even offering the Finn a spa package ahead of the showdown. For the German knows that only a miraculous stormer from the Williams driver can hand him the title without a Hamilton failure. And it’ll take more than a spa date to make that happen.

The sad truth for fans hoping for a thrilling decider is that we won’t see one. Either Hamilton will win the championship on merit, or Rosberg will win it by default.

Ben Snowball - external@BenSnowballhttps://twitter.com/BenSnowballNone

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