Just three points separate the Mercedes teammates after Singapore.
Following a rather poor performance in Singapore, there is no doubt that Nico Rosberg’s championship hopes are in jeopardy. Scoring no points for his early race retirement due to a technical failure on the car, Rosberg has given the Lewis Hamilton his spot at the top of the 2014 World Championship table.
Hamilton came out of the gate swinging before falling off mid-season
At the start of the 2014 season, Hamilton was the fan favourite. With an astonishing four wins in succession, he was many people’s early pick for the title. Despite a retirement at the start of the Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton was able to decrease his point deficit to Rosberg and eventually lead the championship for one weekend. However, following the Monaco Grand Prix, in which he finished runner-up to Rosberg, he got stuck in a proverbial rut. With only one win in the next six races and two race retirements, Hamilton fans were beginning to panic.
Rosberg may be cracking
However, Hamilton appears to have bounced back with a win in Italy and another in Singapore. While Hamilton is back on the war path, Rosberg seems to be going through some dark times. With two costly mistakes in Italy and a retirement in Singapore, it has become evident that he is not operating at his fullest potential. There's also the Belgian GP controversy that showed he may be cracking. Being in a decline this late in the season is going to put his championship dreams out of reach if he can't quickly rebound.
Why have the tables turned?
Why is Rosberg struggling? Is it mental fatigue or did the four leaf clover fall out of his car? Firstly, Rosberg has lost some fan support following the accident and accusations in Belgium. It is difficult to believe that a driver will be able to operate at maximum performance if they are without a loyal group of supporters and have most of the world against them. Fans boost a driver’s confidence and give them motivation.
Secondly, Rosberg is feeling the intense pressure as the season finale edges closer and closer. With Hamilton breathing down his neck, Rosberg surely knows that every position or second gained, could determine whether he wins or loses. Now he's lost his fairly comfortable championship lead due to a single race.
The final factor in Rosberg’s decline is that his luck has simply run out. His car seemed indestructible for much of the season, but now he's suffered from a number of mechanical issues. I am aware he encountered gremlins earlier in the season as well, but his car is clearly in shambles now. It lacks the reliability and performance that it had previously and it is getting a little late in the season to reverse the damage.
Who will emerge victorious?
But the real question is, who will become the World Champion? I have said it from day one and I am still saying it now ... Lewis Hamilton will be crowned the 2014 World Champion. I believe that other drivers like Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso are too far behind to put up a real fight for the title, so that only leaves the two Mercedes drivers, which are now just three points apart.
Of the two, Hamilton has the stronger resume with a World Championship, 29 wins and 1328 career points. In addition, Hamilton has proven that he is the better driver this season, out-performing his teammate during most race weekends. And of course, we cannot forget that the momentum is back on Hamilton’s side.
No matter who wins, best of luck to all 22 drivers in the remainder of the 2014 season and I hope that the battle for the championship comes down to the wire. This has been one of my most memorable seasons watching F1 and we will all surely remember this title fight for the rest of our lives.