F1 drivers say Nico Rosberg under less pressure in 2014 title fight

nico rosberg abu dhabi grand prix

Nico Rosberg faces less pressure than rival Lewis Hamilton in the Formula 1 title showdown in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, former title contenders reckon.

Although Rosberg only has a shot at the world title if Mercedes team-mate Hamilton fails to finish in the top two, other drivers think the situation being out of his hands makes life easier.

Felipe Massa, who famously headed into the 2008 title showdown with Hamilton in Brazil needing a victory, reckons a straightforward task like needing to win can make it easier to adopt the right approach.

“I think psychologically he has less pressure than Lewis,” said Massa, who won at Interlagos that year but was pipped to the title when Hamilton got past Timo Glock at the final corner to secure the points he needed.

“He cannot be scared; he cannot have fear for the race.

“If he has fear, maybe he can lose some tenths. Lewis needs to be more of a gentlemen and sometimes, it’s not easy for him to be a gentleman.”

Kimi Raikkonen said that being in Rosberg’s position, with a 17-point deficit to Hamilton, made it easier to stay focused.

The Finn snatched the 2007 title from Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in a similar scenario.

“Obviously I was behind [in 2007], so on that point you really have nothing else you can do apart from win the race and hope the best that things fall in the right places,” Raikkonen said.

“Quite often in recent years it has gone until the last race, which makes it more exciting because, like we have seen in the past, things can easily happen in one race.”

 

LAYOUT GIVES ROSBERG HOPE

Rosberg is well aware that, even if he wins, he needs another car to finish between him and Hamilton if he is to win the title.

Although Mercedes’ current level of dominance makes such a scenario unlikely, Rosberg thinks that Abu Dhabi’s track layout could be a help if circumstances go his way.

“Of course a lot of things can happen – and it can happen as easy as a Williams having a great start, and slotting in between us,” said the German.

“This is one of the most difficult tracks to overtake on. The speed difference you need to overtake is really quite big at this track, so this is one opportunity.

“There are many scenarios, so I am optimistic.”

A DESERVING CHAMPION

Massa said he did not care who won the title, but reckoned that Hamilton deserved it more after his level of success throughout 2014.

“If Lewis wins or Nico wins I don’t care, but I think Lewis deserves it a bit more compared to Nico,” he said.

“He won more races; I think maybe he did a better championship.

“But ‘deserve’ sometimes is a little bit different in sports. Things happen in a different way sometimes.”

HOW THE TITLE WILL BE WON IN ABU DHABI

Rosberg wins the title if:
* He finishes first and Hamilton does not finish second
* He finishes second and Hamilton is outside the top five
* He finishes third and Hamilton is outside the top six
* He finishes fourth and Hamilton is outside the top eight
* He finishes fifth and Hamilton is outside the top nine

Hamilton wins the title if:
* He finishes first or second
* He finishes third, fourth or fifth and Rosberg doesn’t win
* He finishes sixth and Rosberg is outside the top three
* He finishes eighth and Rosberg is outside the top four
* He finish ninth or worse and Rosberg is outside the top five

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