Fri, Nov 11, 1:30pm by Staff Writer
Lewis Hamilton will need to earn his first Formula One win in Brazil this weekend if he is to have a chance of snatching the world championship from Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg leads by 19 points heading into the penultimate race of the F1 season and can seal the driver’s championship with a third-straight win in the Brazilian GP at Interlagos.
While Hamilton has never won in Brazil, he did clinch the 2008 championship there and William Hill has him as its betting favourite for the weekend at $1.85 for the victory ahead of Rosberg at $2.60.
“I don’t really know why I have not won here,”. Hamilton told reporters this week.
“It is the right time to right that wrong and make that change. I have worked hard to prepare training-wise and at the factory. I feel the best prepared here than I have in any of the last 10 years and I hope that shows in the results.”
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen are equal third favourites at $12, ahead of Sabastian Vettel on $13 and fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen at $34.
Rosberg missed his first chance to secure the F1 title last week in Mexico. He could have wrapped up the championship with a win and if Hamilton failed to score.
If he claims the title at Interlagos, Rosberg will become the second second-generation driver to follow in his father’s footsteps and win the world championship, after father Keke Rosberg won the 1982 title.
Standing in the way of the Mercedes drivers’ ambition is Red Bull, which has been gaining in speed and reliability all season.
Red Bull gained six tenths of a second on Mercedes in qualifying pace and was competitive enough to give Verstappen a chance at passing Rosberg for second on two occasions.
While Vettel’s impressive performance in Mexico was overshadowed by controversy after his late-race manoeuvres and outbursts, it showed a new competitiveness for Ferrari.
Ricciardo has a firm grip on third place in the world championship as he starts his 108th race on Sunday, and will get a boost from some high praise from rival driver Fernando Alonso.
Two-time world champion Alonso told BBC 5 the Australian is the best driver in F1 this season.
“I would say Ricciardo right now because in the way he approaches racing he’s always very committed to everything he does,” he said. “On the track you cannot see any mistakes when you are together with him. In the overtaking manoeuvres probably he is the best out there.
“When he commits to one movement, 99% [of the time] he will achieve the result that he wanted.”
The Brazilian GP gets underway at 3am Monday AEDT.
Suggested Bet: Hamilton to win this GP at $1.85
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