Nico Rosberg goes into the Mexican Grand Prix with the chance to clinch the F1 drivers' title with two races to spare. To do so, however, he will need a rare poor performance from teammate Lewis Hamilton.
After Hamilton kept his hopes of winning a fourth title alive by winning in Austin last week, Rosberg holds a 25-point lead over his fellow Mercedes driver. This means that if Rosberg wins in Mexico City and Hamilton finishes lower than 10th, the German will be the new drivers' champion.
And even if Rosberg fails to wrap things up on Sunday, he will still be in an excellent position to do so by the end of the season. All he needs from Grand Prixs in Mexico , Brazil and Abu Dhabi is two second-place finishes and a third. Should he achieve this, he would still win the title even if Hamilton were to win all three races.
The 31-year-old German certainly has to fancy his chances in Mexico, where he rebounded from last year's devastating championship loss to his English teammate and went on a run of seven consecutive race wins. However, speaking to reporters in Mexico on Thursday, Rosberg insisted that he was taking things one race at a time.
"My goal is to try and win here just as it has been at every race," he said.
"There are many things that can happen during a race weekend which are out of your control, so it's best to just block all that out and focus on the job at hand," he added. "That's what's worked best for me and how I feel at my strongest."
No giving up for Hamilton
However, Hamilton stressed that, particularly after last week's big win at the US Grand Prix, he was determined to push for the title, despite the odds being stacked against him.
"I've never been one to give up and I don't plan on starting now," he said. "There are still plenty of points available and anything is possible."
While many German F1 fans will be pulling for Rosberg to realize what he has described as his "childhood dream" this season, it seems Formula One commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone will not. The 85-year-old Englishman was recently quoted as saying that if the clean-cut Rosberg were to win, instead of the more colorful Hamilton, it would be "bad for business." Rosberg, though, shrugged off the comment.
"It's not important and I focus on my thing and that's it," he said.
The Formula One circus is back in Mexico for a year after receiving an enthusiastic reception when it returned to the country after an absence of more than two decades. Among the drivers who will be have been looking forward to the weekend are Mexicans Esteban Gutierrez of the Haas team and Sergio Perez of Force India.
pfd/mp (dpa, AFP, AP)