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EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

31 MAR - 03 APR 2016

Rosberg wins as Silver Arrows keep the records coming

A fifth win of 2014 kept Nico Rosberg firmly in the hunt for the Drivers’ World Championship as he and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton again dominated proceedings in Brazil.

This was the 15th victory for the Silver Arrows in 2014, equalling the record jointly held by Ferrari (2002, 2004) and McLaren Honda (1988).

With Hamilton second, Mercedes set a new record of 11 1-2 finishes in a single season, bettering McLaren Honda’s previous tally of 10, also established in 1988 when Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna were their drivers.

'It's getting tougher but there is still a chance'

That’s Nico Rosberg talking, but the German’s chances of pulling off a minor miracle and denying his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton a second World Championship look pretty slim: a 24-point deficit with just two races to go.

Hang on a minute: are there two races to go or three?

Effectively there are three, with the last encounter in Abu Dhabi on November 23 counting for double points, so everything is still up for grabs – especially if the unpredictable nature of our next stop, Interlagos in Brazil, gets up and bites Hamilton in particular.

Lewis on top in Texas and at home

Five wins in a row… 10 wins this season… a new British record of 32 Grand Prix victories… his second victory in three visits to Austin: Lewis Hamilton is entitled to think that everything is going his way as he heads into the final two races of the season with a 24-point lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

Once again Hamilton led a 1-2 triumph for the Anglo-German team, catching and passing pole-sitter Rosberg before the halfway stage of the 56-lap race and cruising to the win that carried him past Nigel Mansell as the most successful British driver of all time.

Not so big in Texas this time

They like things big in Texas – but they will have to get used to the smallest Formula 1 field for a decade as neither Caterham nor Marussia look likely to be on the Austin grid this weekend.

Both teams have apparently been given dispensation by Bernie Ecclestone to forego their trips to Texas and possibly Brazil the following weekend, but the news that both are now in receivership adds a further cloud to the F1 horizon, already darkened by the terrible accident to Jules Bianchi in Japan.

'Das Beste Oder Nichts': Silver Arrows True To Their Word

It means, quite simply, ‘the best or nothing’.

It’s the Mercedes-Benz motto, but it also fits perfectly with the win-at-all-costs F1 mentality. And at last it has come true: yet another 1-2 victory for Mercedes-Benz at the new venue of Sochi in Russia wrapped up the first Constructors’ Championship for the German marque with three races to spare.

Lewis Hamilton spearheaded the ninth 1-2 triumph for the 2014 version of the Silver Arrows, cruising home after securing his seventh pole position of the season and the team’s ninth front-row lock-out.

Hamilton triumph overshadowed by Bianchi crash

Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton extended his winning streak to three races and his World Championship lead to 10 points but the Briton’s joy at his first Suzuka victory was tempered by concern for Jules Bianchi, whose Marussia crashed heavily and caused the rain-affected race to be red-flagged after 44 of the scheduled 53 laps.

Bianchi, 25, went off at Turn 15 where only minutes earlier Adrian Sutil’s Sauber had also left the track. The German driver was unhurt but still at the scene when Bianchi suffered his own accident.

Bianchi injured in big Suzuka accident

On May 25 in Monaco Jules Bianchi earned a place in the Formula 1 history books when he scored the first points for his Marussia team. Just over four months later the 25-year-old Frenchman is fighting for his life after suffering severe head injury in a crash during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

With 42 laps of the scheduled 53 gone in tricky, wet and gloomy conditions, Sauber’s Adrian Sutil ran off the track. Shortly afterwards Bianchi lost control of his Marussia at the same spot and hit the back of the recovery vehicle dealing with the Sutil incident.

Big Wheels Keep On Turning

There’s a giant ferris wheel overlooking the track, whose name starts with an S – but those are about the only similarities between Singapore, where the teams have just been, and Suzuka, where they have just arrived for round 15 of the 19 in this year’s World Championship.

One other resemblance: it’s a track the drivers love, for very different reasons. An old-school road course, Suzuka has always brought out the best in the best: in the last 19 visits there, 18 races have been won by World Champions.

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