Formula 1

Toto Wolff philosophical ahead of Mercedes showdown in Abu Dhabi

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has been philosophical over this weekend's title decider between his two drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

After a year of domination that saw the German manufacturer claim their first Constructors' championship in Sochi just over a month ago, Hamilton and Rosberg head to Abu Dhabi with the Briton 17 points clear of the German.

With double points on offer at Yas Marina, the 2008 champion has to finish at least second to guarantee a second world title this weekend while for Rosberg anything other than a victory makes the chances of earning his first championship very unlikely indeed.

"As a team we are fortunate to have such a talented line-up and both are worthy champions in the eyes of everybody behind them"

2014 only the start

Such has been the advantage the Silver Arrows have had over the rest of the field, 2014 could just be the start of a Ferrari or Red Bull-esque period of success and Wolff believes that means whoever loses out this year will have just a good a chance for redemption next year.

“When we look back through the season, each driver has had his share of ups and downs and both have shown great strength of character to recover from setbacks," he said in Mercedes' official Abu Dhabi preview.

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"As a team we are fortunate to have such a talented line-up and both are worthy champions in the eyes of everybody behind them at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart.

“Of course, there will be bitter disappointment for one of them and great joy for the other. While it won't be apparent to them at the time, both have long careers ahead of them and they have proven their credentials for the years to come."

Historical context

Indeed to hammer his point home, Wolff looked back at one of the great season-long battles in F1 history.

"You only have to look back to such great battles as that of (Niki) Lauda and (Alain) Prost in 1984 to see what can be achieved," he said.

"This was the last title for Niki, who won that year, and Prost was defeated in that battle. But he then went on to win four Championships before he retired. A top driver always has the ability to engineer another opportunity and both our boys have proven themselves to be just that: top drivers.”

To compare the two battles directly Hamilton, the established former world champion, would take to role of Lauda while Rosberg, the man trying to make his name in the sport, would be Prost.

And that should offer hope for Rosberg if he loses on Sunday but much has been made on whether he would be a worthy world champion should be win by virtue of double points and it is a question with a very complex answer.

Both worthy world champion's?

With ten wins to what would be six should Rosberg win on Sunday, it would seem that Hamilton, who has the third-highest number of wins for a single driver in a season in history, would be very hard done by.

But Rosberg has been perhaps the more consistent with ten poles and ten second places to his name.

Much has been made of the perceived greater bad luck for Hamilton with one more retirement and the two drives from the back of the grid to finish on the podium in Germany and Hungary, but looking back it was Rosberg who better managed the same problem that his team-mate had in the race in Canada and he also had that stellar recovery from the back of the field to finish second in Sochi.

In reality, either would be a worthy champion but on the balance of achievements Hamilton is perhaps the more deserved to be crowned for a second time.

A clean fight to the finish

The one thing that nobody wants is the title to be decided because of a mechanical issue for either driver, in recent races reliability has improved after the two drivers suffered from several issues mid-season and Wolff said everything was being done to try and ensure the machinery will not be the deciding factor in Abu Dhabi.

“It is now down to us to ensure that this fascinating year concludes in the right way by giving Lewis and Nico a platform to settle the title purely on the track," he claimed. "It is fantastic for the sport to have such a finale in what has been one of the great seasons of Formula One.

“I for one cannot wait to watch the race in Abu Dhabi and I'm sure those at home feel the same. May the best man win!”

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