Formula One all set for the big fitting finalé with Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
16:08 24 November 2014
When things come to a head in F1, there is nothing quite like it – and no, this isn’t about all those financial issues and forthcoming discussions. Those can wait, at least in terms of column inches.
Good week, bad week
• Pole position – Caterham: Be as cynical as you want, their crowdfunding campaign at least helped get the former Hingham marque on the grid in Abu Dhabi; now the hunt for buyers steps up.
• Stalling – Gary Paffett: His long-running association as test and reserve driver at McLaren will end this season, after eight years on their books – but not a single grand prix start for the constructor.
No, this weekend in Abu Dhabi is about the 2014 title shoot-out, writes Michael Bailey on the Wednesday before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Bizarrely, double points have done their job this year – ensuring a mouth-watering season finalé, even if it could mean Lewis Hamilton missing out on a championship his consistency and win record has more than merited.
As it so happens, his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg will be the one with nothing to lose.
The points situation gives the German more hope than he is entitled to at Yas Marina, yet there is not a drop of expectancy on his shoulders. And as for Lewis – a man who has seemed to find drama a little too easy to come by on many an occasion – he has everything to lose.
"Our position is we want to see a full grid of two-car teams…at least 10 healthy competing two-car teams"
He deserves and is expected to leave the United Arab Emirates as the world’s best. He has done it before of course, and has the experience of that 2008 triumph to call on – when he was most definitely the underdog, going into the final few corners at Interlagos.
Yet Lewis will prove so much about himself and his development, if he can see the job out on Sunday as the frontrunner. Either way, it’s going to make for thrilling viewing.
• It registered with me that young commentator Jack Nicholls had been stepping in for James Allen on BBC Five Live’s recent coverage – but not that Jack was from our very own Reepham.
This part of the world seems very adept at producing Formula One media successes, given the rise of Jake Humphrey too.
Nicholls has already had some big tests in the commentary box – notably commentating on the Japanese Grand Prix as the details of Jules Bianchi’s devastating crash filtered through.
“When something like that happens, you don’t know what to say,” Nicholls told the EDP earlier this week.
“You are commentating and then getting off the record information which is more gruesome, and you’re trying to balance that.
“Those are difficult moments and something you don’t really get with football commentating or hockey. With motor racing there is that possibility someone could die. I’m friends with a lot of the drivers because I work with them every day and I could potentially commentate on a friend’s death. That’s a very challenging situation and it becomes much more of a mental process. What do I say now? What’s the right thing to say?”
Clearly a tough situation, but one Jack dealt with well – and I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more from him in the coming years.