Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg looked to be locked into a two-horse race once again for this year’s Drivers’ Championship as there is just two points separating them ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, the 15th race in the 2016 calendar.
After his win in the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton is now leading the standings on 2500 points and can be backed at odds of 2/9 in the latest F1 betting at the time of writing, with Rosberg available at 10/3
With it now looking increasingly unlikely that any other drivers will be able to claw back the deficit on the Mercedes pair, here are the key races left in the year and those which could have a big say on who lifts the title for 2016.
Japanese Grand Prix – 9th October
When he lines up at Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton will be bidding for his third straight victory in Japan.
Hamilton first won the Japanese Grand Prix in 2007 where he qualified in pole and edged out the win in wet conditions which saw his title rival at the time Fernando Alonso crash out of the race.
Heavy rain also arrived during the 2014 running of the race where Hamilton finished ahead of Rosberg on the podium, while 12 months ago, the British driver once again showed how much he enjoys this grand prix as he was a winner for the third time.
United States Grand Prix – 23rd October
As much as Hamilton is as dominant in Japan, he has an even better record in the United States Grand Prix where he’ll be vying for his fifth career win this year and if successful , he will join Michael Schumacher as the two riders to have had the most success in this race.
Last year’s United States GP proved to be a key race in the calendar when it came to determining the Drivers’ Championship winner. Rosberg led for the majority of the race but was overtaken by Hamilton in the closing stages ensuring a huge swing in points for the two teammates.
The race in Texas often throws up tough conditions as we saw last year when the second practice and final qualifying session had to be cancelled due to the torrential rain. That is likely to play into Hamilton’s hands as he has proven he is one of the best around in those conditions.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – 27th November
Given its position as the final race on the formula one calendar, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tends to have more riding on it than any other event in the season.
It looks unlikely that either Hamilton or Rosberg will gain enough points over their opponent to make this year’s race meaningless therefore it is likely to prove crucial again. Both men have been successful in this race in the last two years therefore it could make for a very intriguing grand prix if it is winner takes all in the season finale from Abu Dhabi.