The 2014 Formula 1 world championship is guaranteed to be decided at the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi after Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished first and second in today’s United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton clinched his fifth consecutive victory at the Circuit of The Americas to move into a 24-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship as Rosberg was forced to settle for second place.
However, even if he wins next weekend’s race in Brazil and Rosberg retires, Hamilton’s 49-point advantage would not be enough to secure him the title ahead of the final double points round in Abu Dhabi.
In a controversial new rule for the 2014 season, the last race of the year is worth double, meaning that the winner picks up 50 points for victory at Yas Marina.
This means that Hamilton could theoretically finish the season with 11 wins to Rosberg’s five and still lose the championship by a single point at the final round.
Without this ruling, Hamilton would have needed to outscore Rosberg by just a point to be crowed champion next weekend in Brazil. Instead, he will have to ensure that he maintains his excellent form right the way to the end of the season.
He did however break Nigel Mansell’s record for the most number of grand prix victories by a British driver today in Austin, and also joined an elite club comprising of Michael Schumacher, Jim Clark and Graham Hill that have won three times in the United States.
Today’s race did see Daniel Ricciardo get ruled out of contention for the drivers’ championship, though. Although he finished an excellent third behind the two Mercedes drivers, the Australian now trails Hamilton by 102 points at the top of the standings with 75 left on offer.