Mansell: Nico versus Lewis will go down to the wire

Nigel Mansell crystal ball gazing at Silverstone

Nigel Mansell crystal ball gazing at Silverstone

Nigel Mansell expects Mercedes team mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to be battling for the Formula One title all the way to the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

The 1992 world champion told reporters at the British Grand Prix that the controversial novelty of double points on offer for the season-ending round at Yas Marina could prove the decisive factor.

Hamilton is 29 points behind Rosberg after eight races with 11 remaining, including Sunday. A race win is worth 25 points.

“The last race is 50 points on offer for the winner. So he (Hamilton) is a few points behind but there’s so many more races to go,” said Mansell, a steward for Sunday’s race at Silverstone.

“It’s nothing really, with the way the system works now…I don’t see it as a hiccup. There’s a lot of races. Are their cars both going to finish? I think it will come down to what reliability each one of them has.

Lewis Hamilton versus Nico Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton versus Nico Rosberg

“Destiny will determine it. I think it will come down to the last race. I really do believe the last race with double points will decide the championship.”

Mansell expected Hamilton, fastest in Friday practice, to be ‘super-quick’ in front of his home fans at Silverstone after losing out to his German team mate in the last three races.

“I don’t see it as a problem being behind at this time in the year,” added the Briton.

“In fact it can be an advantage because if he starts to perform a little bit better than Nico now, the pressure will transfer from Lewis on to Nico because he will be defending the championship points lead.”

Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, has won four races to Rosberg’s three so far but been penalised by two retirements while the German has finished first or second every time.

Rosberg versus Hamilton has shades of Mansell versus Piquet

Rosberg versus Hamilton has shades of Mansell versus Piquet

Mansell ended two of his seasons in F1 with more wins than the driver who won the title – one of them his Williams team mate Nelson Piquet in 1987 – and he recognised that could also happen to Hamilton.

“I’ve been there and done that,” he laughed. “I know how that feels.┬áIf the reliability stakes stay the same it will be interesting but I don’t think it will end up like that. I think there will be a few spanners thrown into the works somewhere.”

The Briton dismissed a suggestion that Hamilton was being ‘out-thought’ by Rosberg, the son of 1982 champion Keke.

“I think you are doing Nico an injustice,” he said. “Nico is a super-quick driver who has been under-rated and has always been there and comes from great stock”.

“Lewis isn’t doing anything wrong. Lewis just needs to concentrate, settle down a little bit and have a little bit more lady luck.” (Reuters)