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Former rival Nico Rosberg thinks Lewis Hamilton can still win a ‘crazy’ title race

Former rival Nico Rosberg believes Lewis Hamilton can still win a ‘crazy’ title race as the Dutchman targets the ace Mercedes to close the gap with world championship leader Max Verstappen

  • Nico Rosberg backs Lewis Hamilton to end season with eighth world title
  • Max Verstappen doubled his lead to 12 points by winning the US Grand Prix.
  • The upcoming race in Mexico City on November 7 is bound to favor the Red Bull car.
  • But Mercedes has triumphed in three of the last five at Hermanos Rodríguez


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Nico Rosberg has put aside his troubled relationship with Lewis Hamilton and is backing the most successful driver in Formula One to end the season with an eighth world title.

Reaching that record-breaking territory is now extremely difficult for Hamilton after Max Verstappen doubled his championship lead to 12 points by winning the United States Grand Prix last weekend.

The Circuit of the Americas, 15 miles from downtown Austin, was meant to be a Mercedes track, but it was Red Bull who held the slight lead, an advantage they brilliantly exploited with a bold strategy and perhaps Verstappen’s best all-round driving. . 24 years.

Nico Rosberg (R) backs Lewis Hamilton to end the season with an eighth world title

Nico Rosberg (R) backs Lewis Hamilton to end the season with an eighth world title

His balance of speed and tire conservation was Hamilton-style.

No wonder the Dutchman and his father Jos were full of smiling bonhomia when they emerged from the paddock gates a couple of hours later.

Next stop: Mexico City, where the thin air at 8,000 feet above sea level is bound to favor the Red Bull car. Verstappen has won there twice in the last three editions, although Mercedes has triumphed three out of five times since the Hermanos Rodríguez track returned to the calendar in 2015.

Then comes Brazil, another low altitude test. Interlagos is even more useful for Red Bull by dint of its twisty midsection. If Verstappen can score a lot, he will have a huge lead in the last three rounds, in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton has another nagging fear about the durability of his engine. His boss, Toto Wolff, has spoken of ‘gremlins’ and it seems doubtful that Hamilton will make it to the desert for the final delivery on December 12 with the same power unit. If it didn’t, it would sink into the net.

Max Verstappen doubled his championship lead to 12 points by winning the US Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen doubled his championship lead to 12 points by winning the US Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen doubled his championship lead to 12 points by winning the US Grand Prix.

Yet still, still. Hamilton has been toughened up in the championship crucible, while Verstappen is new to it. This is a point that Rosberg, who beat Hamilton to the crown as his Silver Arrows teammate in 2016, believes may prove crucial.

“Somehow I still tended to lean towards Lewis, through experience and because he usually wins in the end,” said the Monaco-raised German. ‘It’s so hard to beat him. He can still do it, but Max is a giant right now.

‘It’s crazy. The cars are exactly the same and the two drivers are in a league of their own. No one can keep up with them.

“It’s the highest level Formula One has seen. Great, great respect.”

There are 133 points up for grabs, including those for the fastest lap and the last of the three sprint races in Brazil. “It’s going to be very close in the last few races,” added Rosberg. “A lot of things are going to happen.”

Mexico City, where the thin air at 8,000 feet above sea level, is bound to favor the Red Bull car.

Mexico City, where the thin air at 8,000 feet above sea level, is bound to favor the Red Bull car.

Mexico City, where the thin air at 8,000 feet above sea level, is bound to favor the Red Bull car.

As for Hamilton’s opinion, the 36-year-old believes that he is better fortified for the fight than at any stage in his career, having received help from his campaign for diversity.

“Mentally I am stronger than ever,” he said. “My work in this area has been a big part of it.

Anyway, I have been strong for a long time, but this has solidified me even more. I realized this last year. Stepping on the podium so I could give Breonna (Taylor, an African American woman shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky) that voice was a great driving force for me.

‘Now I’m working in the background and then I show up and enjoy my work. I think it’s helping me run. I feel like it’s giving me more longevity. It also gives my life a real purpose. Running is not a purpose; it’s something to do.

‘Not everything in my life is beautiful. These things are relative. But there have definitely been times when I didn’t know if I could move on or wondered if there might be something else I wanted to do. I don’t think I found that purpose until last year.

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