NOVEMBER 22, 2016

Prost-like Rosberg deserves title says Villeneuve

Even Lewis Hamilton concedes that his teammate Nico Rosberg is the favourite to be crowned world champion in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

Although Hamilton is back on form with three consecutive wins closing his point gap to 12, many experts think Rosberg has simply been nursing the lead recently.

So an easy third place on Sunday will see the German win his first title.

Speaking to GQ magazine, Jenson Button agreed: "Unless one of us crashes into him.

"I mean, Lewis is very rich and has a lot of money, flies around in a private jet, so I'm sure he can afford to pay me," the Briton joked.

Nonetheless, most observers agree that if Rosberg does win, he will fully deserve it despite the fact Hamilton has suffered more mechanical dramas in 2016.

"Lewis was perhaps a bit faster throughout the season, but he has also made more mistakes," 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve told Auto Bild.

"Rosberg was more consistent," he said, comparing the German with Alain Prost.

"If Prost needed to win he risked more, if not he tried to get the position he needed," said Villeneuve.

Publicly, however, Rosberg is saying he wants to win on Sunday: "I have to treat this like any other race," he said on Tuesday.

But Bernie Ecclestone urged Rosberg not to throw it away, telling the Swiss newspaper Blick: "Rosberg must take this opportunity, otherwise it may never come again."

Villeneuve said the task for Rosberg should be quite straightforward.

"If his car has no technical faults and he makes it through the first corner, he has the championship in his pocket," he said.