Ross Brawn says Nico Rosberg deserves to win this year’s world championship, and wants to see the “tenacious” German driver succeed.
Brawn was Mercedes team principal when Rosberg was recruited from Williams ahead of the 2010 season, and was also still part of the team in 2013 when it added Lewis Hamilton to its driver line-up.
While Brawn believes Hamilton to be the better driver, he says the reliability problems suffered by the triple world champion this season should not detract from Rosberg’s performance.
“The great thing about this year is that whatever driver wins it they will have deserved it,” Brawn told the BBC. “We can talk about the reliability record but reliability comes and goes for every driver every year and you have to accept that’s an unfortunate part of the business.
“Only for emotional reasons I would love Nico to win it because he is such a tough little nut. He has been bashed around so much by Lewis.
“Lewis is naturally talented, a better driver, he is slightly quicker than Nico. But Nico is so tenacious and has such good application that he is compensating for it.”
Rosberg can win the world championship next weekend, with victory in Brazil enough to ensure he secures the title, and Brawn says the German would be “a completely worthy champion” should he do so.
If Rosberg fails to win the Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton can afford to give away no more than five points to his team-mate in order to take the battle down to the final race in Abu Dhabi.
Sebastian Vettel lamented his Ferrari’s handling in the latter part of last weekend’s US Grand Prix, with the cause apparently related to a large build-up of rubber particles on his car’s rear wing.
The build-up ultimately rendered the rear wing inefficient as it lost downforce and subsequently affected the Ferrari’s handling, providing the German with a scary moment in the first sector.
“It was quite violent,” explained Vettel.
“It is quite surprising if you lose downforce very suddenly. It’s not like someone is knocking one or two seconds before, and tells you you’re about to lose the car, so I was quite lucky in that instance to be able to save it.
“It was quite a big snap. We were travelling at quite high speeds but I was able to save the car. I had a couple of moments in the race and after that, I slowed down a bit to take it easy as we didn’t have anywhere to go.
“We were 10 seconds behind Daniel [Ricciardo] and there was nothing going on behind.”
Fortunately, Vettel was in a position to take a free pit-stop four laps from the checkered flag, during which the Scuderia crew wiped the rear wing clean and fitted a new set of SuperSoft tyres.
Vettel also offered some insight into the Scuderia’s relative performance compared with Japan where the SF16-H fared much better.
“I think it’s fair to say that some parts of the track are largely similar to Japan, and it’s fair to say we were not as competitive as in Japan.
“All in all it was a difficult weekend. For sure in the race we were closer in terms of competitiveness than in qualifying but overall not as quick.
“We have some ideas, which I think we have also had some lessons earlier in the season that in certain conditions maybe our car isn’t as good as we would like.
“It’s something we’ve worked on, we’ve made progress but still some work to do.”
Jake Anderson began the night on pole position with a best qualifying time of 1:27.582 but it was all Debatista from there. From fourth on the grid he powered through the field and pinched a Race One win over Anderson by 1.325 seconds. Omar Aswat was close behind to capture third place.
Debatista was even better in Race Two, sprinting away and leaving the rest of the field behind. Again he was the first to the chequered flag, with Omar chasing him in for second place and Anderson securing third.
Going two for two, Debatista was guaranteed a top stop on the podium for the night—his first ever. It was an impressive showing to dominate a grid full of experienced drivers, including 2016 Ramadan Challenge Champion Kamal Agha.
“It’s so satisfying when you’re finally in the lead and you know there’s no one ahead of you.” said Debatista.
Anderson was best-of-the-rest for the night, just barely beating out Aswat for the second place trophy.
The SWS Senior Cup, meanwhile, was business as usual as veterans Saeed Al Mehairi and Gianluca Elmosi returned to the podium.
Ahmed Al Hammadi topped the qualifying screens with a blazing time of 1:11.626, just .039 seconds ahead of Rami Azzam. The top nine drivers all qualified within a second of each other.
After the lights went out. Race One quickly disintegrated into a feisty brawl in which multiple karts were cited for penalties. In the ruckus Al Hammadi dropped back, allowing the trio of Al Mehairi, Anjum Shaikh and Azzam to sneak up into the lead. Saeed snatched victory 2.102 seconds clear of Ajum, while Rami and Ahmed trailed in for third and fourth.
After a stern discussion from the Clerk of the Course, the SWS Senior drivers were more disciplined for Race Two, although the racing was no less spirited.
Ahmed Al Hammadi, Saeed Al Mehairi and Rami Azzam broke away from the pack and remained bumper to bumper the entire race. Al Mehairi took control and managed to keep the other two drivers behind him. The Emirati ace crossed the finish line just .674 seconds ahead of Azzam, who was a mere .263 seconds in front of Al Hammadi.
After a convincing two wins on the night, Al Mehairi was assured a first place trophy. Azzam grabbed the second place silverware while Ajum Shaikh collected just enough points in the evening to pip out Al Hammadi for third.
In the Masters sub-category of SWS Seniors (ages 35 and older), Gianluca Elmosi collected his second victory trophy in a row, narrowly beating out Carsten Winter for second place on the podium. Usual front-runner Mohammed Ismail Ali had to settle for an unaccustomed third place trophy.
Afterwards David Bright of Dubai Kartdrome commented, “Tonight had quality grids with current GT and karting stars. It was great to see such close and energetic racing.
“It was also fantastic to have guest driver Florian Holzinger from Austria stay over from the recent Endurance Championship race to join us on the SWS Senior grid.”