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Brazil win leaves Hamilton in 'awkward' position

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Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Race winning Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (L) and teammate and second placed finisher Nico Rosberg of Germany spray champagne during the victory ceremony after the race. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Race winning Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (L) and teammate and second placed finisher Nico Rosberg of Germany spray champagne during the victory ceremony after the race. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

By Alan Baldwin

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Winning is not enough now for Lewis Hamilton who would welcome a helping hand from rivals Red Bull in his Formula One title showdown with Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg next week.

Rosberg will be crowned world champion for the first time if the German finishes on the podium at the Abu Dhabi finale, even if Hamilton takes his fourth race victory in a row and 10th for the season.

With Mercedes dominant, and Yas Marina not the easiest track to overtake on, the Briton has to hope others can get between him and his team mate.

It almost happened in Brazil on Sunday with Max Verstappen overtaking Rosberg for second place behind Hamilton only for Red Bull to then make the wrong tyre choice and put the Dutch teenager on intermediates that needed changing again for wets.

Verstappen drove a sensational race from 16th to third in the last 17 laps but Rosberg was too far ahead.

"Unbelievable, when will it end?', said Hamilton of his bad luck. "Red Bull made such a big mistake with that call.

"Verstappen still had a great race and got back up to third but it would be good if they made some good calls at the next race.

"I am in an awkward position going into the last race," said Hamilton. "It doesn't really make a big difference if I go and drive like I do right now because I have already lost so much through the year.

"I can't give up because you never know what can happen. It's unlikely but you never know."

No driver has failed to be champion with eight or more wins in a season but Hamilton has nine after Interlagos, a triumph that also put him second on the all-time list.

The 31-year-old, who also has 11 pole positions from 20 races, will have to beat the odds to become Britain's first four-times champion given Rosberg's 12-point lead.

"I am happy that I beat everyone today...Nico is driving at his best right now and today he had nothing on me," said Hamilton after yet another Mercedes one-two at the end of a wet and chaotic race.

"I am happy that we as a team are continuing to make history...but Nico is doing all he has to do."

Rosberg, who also has nine wins, has finished second in the last three races and been off the podium only five times this year.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)


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