The entire Formula 1 season has come down to the final race. This Sunday Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will line up in Abu Dhabi knowing that one of them will finish with the driver’s world championship – and one of them will leave with nothing.
BBC F1 reporter Lee McKenzie has been following the pair since their GP2 days in 2005 and 2006, and has met both of them in the Middle East ahead of the final race. She tells us what it’s like to be standing in the pit lane as Formula 1 history is made.
“Abu Dhabi is all glitz and night-time sparkle, but it was clear interviewing Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg how tense the atmosphere is this weekend.
“Nico appeared very relaxed, and has been all the time he’s been out here. But I asked him if he would be able to appreciate that this has been his best ever season in Formula 1, even if he didn’t win the championship. He said no.
“Lewis is relaxed too, in a very different way. He conducts himself very differently compared to when he last won in 2008; he’s grown up.
“People always remember titanic battles, but ultimately when you go online to find out who was champion in 2014, one name will appear. People only ever remember the winners, and that’s playing heavily on both their minds.
“I’ve worked with both of them in GP2 – Nico in 2005 and Lewis in 2006 – so I’ve been annoying them with questions on the microphone for many years now! For me it’s been a pleasure being part of this year, because we’re watching history being made.
“This is the kind of season that one day they will make a film about. I wasn’t there when Senna drove, I wasn’t there for the Lauda and Hunt battle. I watched them on film, but to be here and part of history is just unreal.
“I hope the friendship between Lewis and Nico can get back to what it was. Both of them pretend they were never really that friendly, that it was only when they were kids, but that’s not strictly true. They both used to live in Monaco in the same building. They don’t do that anymore.
“They were friends, but ultimately if your biggest rival is the one who you’re battling there will be problems. These aren’t just arguments: these are 250kph arguments at Spa, a hugely dangerous circuit. It was never going to end well.
“I think it will be a real disappointment if the championship is decided on double points. The championship has been so exciting that it doesn’t need double points. Even if it was a boring championship it wouldn’t have needed double points. It’s a gimmick and I don’t like it.
“Whatever happens, on Sunday after the race I will be speaking to some very disappointed people, not just the loser in Mercedes. There are at least five other drivers who won’t be in Formula 1 next season.
“There will be lots of emotions kicking around – and plenty to sort out.”
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