A season of squabbling for supremacy boils down to just one race for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, with the Drivers’ Championship winner decided in an Abu Dhabi duel where double points are on offer.
Sensational form in the second half of the campaign has enabled the Brit to overhaul his German counterpart at the summit of the standings, but the latter’s victory in Brazil last time out cut the gap at the top to just 17 points.
Should Rosberg repeat the trick and Hamilton finish third or worse at the Yas Marina circuit, he’ll be crowned champion, second or better and the Stevenage steering wheeler prevails.
For a comprehensive break down of the title permutations take a look at the graphic at the bottom of the page, but for the time being we’re going to decipher exactly who it is that will emerge triumphant.
Hamilton’s qualification race was riddled with errors, which allowed his Mercedes peer the opportunity to land pole position for the season-defining spectacle.
As a direct consequence of finishing almost four tenths of a second slower than Rosberg, the Englishman’s odds to claim a second Championship have drifted to 7/25, while he’s 5/4 to claim the checkered flag in the Emirates.
His teammate is 7/10 favourite to win on the day, though he’s the 11/4 outsider to squeeze Hamilton out of the title picture, but which of the pair will come out on top?
Given that they’ve occupied the two loftiest spots on the podium following 11 of the 18 races contested this term – and closest competitors Red Bull have been thrown out for breaching construction regulations – it’s fairly safe to discount the remainder of the field here.
Using this premise as a basis, it’s odds-against Hamilton who the punters should be backing for both the Grand Prix and, subsequently, the world title.
He was peerless in Abu Dhabi in 2011, a year when he didn’t begin at the head of the grid, so starting second will hold no fear here.
His confidence will be further boosted by the fact that no driver on pole has capitalised on that advantage in any of the previous three UAE instalments.
Few have been guiltier than Rosberg this term when it comes to squandering this opportunity; he has snared ten poles prior to this race, but failed to convert seven of them.