OCTOBER 20, 2016

Mercedes duo free to fight for title says Wolff

Mercedes has cleared the path for its two drivers to fight unimpeded for the 2016 title.

Mercedes has cleared the path for its two drivers to fight unimpeded for the 2016 title.

The German newspaper Bild said that with the constructors' championship now wrapped up, team boss Toto Wolff has given the green light to Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

Previously, there has been talk of rules of engagement that are so lengthy they have been referred to as 'The Bible'.

But Wolff is now quoted as saying: "There are no team orders and no limitations. May the better one win."

Particularly after a spate of bad luck, and amid the British press' characterisation of a 'meltdown' for the British driver, world champion Hamilton lags teammate Rosberg by 33 points with 4 races to go.

Team chairman Niki Lauda thinks German Rosberg effectively has it in the bag.

"If nothing goes wrong in Nico's car, Lewis will not be able to do it this season," the F1 legend told Sport Bild.

"There are years that just don't work for you, and Lewis seems to have caught such a year," Lauda added.

But while a similarly calculating driver like Alain Prost or Lauda himself might have nursed a big lead to the chequered flag, Rosberg says he is not changing his approach.

"I drive as though the score is nil-all," said the German.

"In football, it doesn't work if a team wants to manage a lead to the end -- often, this only gives the opponent the chance to build back up again," added Rosberg.

Former F1 driver Marc Surer backs Lauda in thinking Rosberg is the obvious favourite for the world championship, even though Hamilton thrives on the Austin layout.

He told the German broadcaster Sky: "But Rosberg has been winning races that normally Hamilton is better at, so he also has a good chance in Texas.

"What you can say is that Lewis must win the last four races, otherwise he can forget the title. He also must hope that Rosberg does not always finish second, and that he has some bad luck.

"But I am convinced that Lewis will try everything and not give up," Surer added.