Nico Rosberg says the closer his F1 world championship decider against Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton gets the more pumped-up he feels and wants to seal a maiden crown in style with victory in Abu Dhabi rather than rely on the minimum top three finish.
Despite his first lap blip in Malaysia when he was sent into a spin by a collision with Sebastian Vettel, Rosberg's run of results since the summer break have been emphatic with wins at Spa, Monza, Singapore and Suzuka coupled with rostrum results at Sepang, COTA, Mexico and Interlagos.
Heading into the 2016 title decider in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg holds a 12 point advantage over Hamilton which makes the title a simple equation for the German; even if Hamilton wins Rosberg can finish on the podium and be crowned F1 world champion.
Rosberg is determined to finish the year not only on top in the final F1 drivers' standings but also on top of the rostrum in Abu Dhabi as his 'one race at a time' mentality gets drawn to its conclusion in the finale.
“The closer it gets, the more I'm feeling excited. It will be a big battle and hopefully the fans will get a great show to end the year,” Rosberg said. “I've had a great week, relaxing and catching up with my family and friends, so I feel like I'm in a good place.
“In Brazil, after the race, I was joking that I would still be taking things one race at a time. But, the more I think about it, the more that's actually not as crazy as it sounds. I have to treat this like any other race.
“Doing a good job on a Grand Prix weekend is always a challenge. Nothing in this sport is easy, so this won't be any different and I still have to go all out for a good result. I have great memories from winning at this track last year and it's somewhere I've usually been strong in the past, so I have every reason to feel confident.”
The last time the world title went down to the wire was in 2014 between Rosberg and Hamilton, with the British driver coming out the victor in Abu Dhabi as his rival's charge was curtailed by a loss of the energy recovery system (ERS) in his Mercedes which saw him plummet to 14th by the chequered flag.
That race aside, Rosberg says he has fond memories of the Yas Marina Circuit - having won the race in 2015 - and wants to halt his trend of runner-up finishes to Hamilton to secure a first F1 world crown in style.
“Obviously, the result in Brazil wasn't the one I was going for. But Lewis did a great job and second place wasn't a disaster in the end,” he said “It feels great to be in the World Championship battle with Lewis for a third year in a row. I will give it everything to end the season with a win.”
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