By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers Nico Rosberg, and Lewis Hamilton have picked the exact same supply of tires for their championship showdown at Yas Marina for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Each of them will have four sets of softs, two sets of super-softs, and seven sets of the super sticky ultra-soft compounds for the weekend. The driver’s choices echo Mercedes’ boss Toto Wolff’s strategy of giving their drivers each an equal opportunity to claim the championship. Whoever wins will not claim the title by fluke of strategy at least when it comes to tires, it will be a straight fight.
Rosberg enters the final race of the year with a 12 point lead over Hamilton, which means he only has to podium to secure the championship, even if Hamilton wins. This makes the task especially difficult for Hamilton, as Rosberg has reached the podium in all but five of the races this year, including the last 8 Grand Prix.
Hamilton has however won the last three races in a row to close down what was once an enormous deficit. The script in Abu Dhabi will follow the familiar route of Hamilton putting everything on the line while Rosberg has a small cushion to play it safe.
Rosberg will still have to deliver if he wants to come out on top, the threat of misfortune such as the engine trouble that plagued him at Abu Dhabi in 2014 will loom large in his mind, as will any threat Red Bull or Ferrari could have in the race.
It will be a fascinating conclusion to a period in the sport that has seen Mercedes dominate like few teams have before. The closer the end of the season looms, more and more talk will be devoted to the massive changes coming for 2017, but for now let us savor one final dogfight for the 2016 World Driver’s Championship.
Below are the tire selections of all the drivers for the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, to be held at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 27th.