Hamilton vs. Rosberg: Who will claim the F1 Championship?

September 01, 2016

- Grant Whittington

With eight races left to go in the F1 season, Lewis Hamilton’s nine-point lead in the Driver’s Championship may seem like little more than an irrelevance in the grand scheme of things. After all, there is little to choose between these two increasingly sparring teammates, especially as both have recorded the same number of F1 victories (six) so far this term.

Despite this, Hamilton’s lead has tremendous psychological importance, particularly given the events that unfolded at the Belgian Grand Prix last week. By claiming third-place after producing a stunning race from the very back of the grid at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Hamilton not only maintained his lead but he also struck a considerable blow to Rosberg’s title aspirations.

The Story so far: How has the Rivalry Unfolded?

Hamilton’s recovery at the Belgian Grand Prix was even more impact when you consider the very start of the season. After an incredible run of bad luck culminated in Hamilton not even finishing a disastrous Chinese Grand Prix, Rosberg had managed to stake an early claim for the title by winning the first three races of the season. In fact, Hamilton didn’t record a win at all until the sixth race of the season in Monaco, at which point his hopes of securing a title seemed bleak at best.

This began a superb run of six out of seven victories for defending champion Hamilton, however, which only ended after a 60-place penalty left Hamilton stranded at the back of grid after qualifying in Belgium. Rosberg will have undoubtedly seen this as an ideal opportunity to reclaim the lead in the driver’s standings, which in turn may have provided a crucial change in momentum given that both racers are likely to hold their nerve from winning, Championship positions.

Who will win the F1 Championship?

Next up is the Italian Grand Prix, with Rosberg and Hamilton likely to claim the top two positions at the front of the grid at the time of writing. This type of scenario will suit Hamilton, as his current advantage is such that the occasional runners-up finish will not harm his chances of winning the title. It is this that has put him ahead of Rosberg in the list of Driver’s Championship favourites, along with his incredible levels of courage and ability to snatch victory from the jaws of almost certain defeat.

In many ways, Rosberg could already be forgiven for thinking that overcoming Hamilton’s challenges represents a step too far. After all, it is a minor miracle that the Englishman is still in contention, never mind top of the charts and with a nine-point lead. This, coupled with the motivation that Hamilton has to hold sway over his increasingly bitter rival, means that the Briton remains the rightful favourite to retain his own crown.

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