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GP Week : Issue 234
The new season might be the better part of five months away but that doesn't change the fact that for the next few weeks the endearing thought racing through Lewis Hamilton's head will be that of Nico Rosberg's gearbox. For the last three races he's been able to do little more than stare at it, following his teammate in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi after being bettered on saturday afternoon. The three races which ended the year were a race to the first corner and, in each of them, it was Rosberg who got there first. Hamilton can perhaps feel aggreived that the team changed his strategy mid race, something which clearly disadvantaged the world champion, but it was a smart team move. In 2015 there has been no doubt that Hamilton has been top dog, leaving Rosberg more often than not to play a distant number two driver. Heading into next season, when Ferrari is expected to mount a more serious challenge, it needs both drivers to be firing on all cylinders. Hamilton is on a cloud, his confidence at an all-time high - why stroke his ego at the expense of Rosberg when, by allowing him victory, he too heads into the winter with his morale soaring? There was the race to consider too. It served no purpose to have its drivers battle since there was nothing to be gained. Mercedes was comfortably the class of the field and a 1-2 finish was the perfect result to end what had been a dominant season. With both championships wrapped up the order didn't matter, but to risk the cars by allowing them to battle was not in the team's best interests. It would have made for great television, but that is not what Mercedes is on track for. But with a fiesty Hamilton and Rosberg struggling ahead of his second stop with graining tyres, the gap between the two shrunk to little more than a second. That posed the Merecedes pit wall a problem, as even 21 GPWEEK.com // 21 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> ABU DHABI PARTNERS: