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Rosberg finds calm in past failures

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Formula One - F1 - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - 24/11/2016 - Mercedes' Formula One driver, Nico Rosberg of Germany arrives at Press Room for a news conference. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Formula One - F1 - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - 24/11/2016 - Mercedes' Formula One driver, Nico Rosberg of Germany arrives at Press Room for a news conference. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

By Alan Baldwin

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Formula One favourite Nico Rosberg hopes his experience of past title battles can bring success at the third time of asking in Sunday's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"It definitely helps to have been there, done that, you know," the Mercedes driver told reporters when asked on Thursday how his nerves were holding up ahead of a race that could bring him a first championship.

"This is the third time that we're fighting for the championship and the second time that it's gone to the wire so for sure that helps to feel more relaxed."

Rosberg is 12 points clear of team mate and triple world champion Lewis Hamilton going into the 21st and final race of the season, which means he only needs to finish third to take the title.

If he does, it would end years of hurt.

The 31-year-old was beaten to the title with three races to spare last year while the 2014 season ended in Abu Dhabi with Hamilton winning and Rosberg limping home in a stricken car and out of the points after starting on pole position.

Appearing with Hamilton in a special news conference at the Yas Marina circuit, both drivers did their best to appear relaxed -- but without shaking hands in front of the photographers.

Both aimed some subtle digs at the other, Hamilton implying that the German had benefited from a switch of their previous mechanics pre-season.

"You'll have to buy my book down the line in 10 years time when I tell you exactly what happened," said Hamilton, after Rosberg offered a lengthy justification for the change. "It will be an interesting read."

There was also a degree of mutual praise between two men who between them have won all but two races this season.

"I'm really happy for him and his family...proud of him and how he's driven, particularly this year obviously and generally it's been a pleasure having him as a team mate," declared Hamilton.

Rosberg reiterated his respect for the man he has raced against since they were teenagers.

"He's been a great competitor, tough opponent as always, as was to be expected," said the German when asked which of his team mate's races this season had most impressed him, and without specifying any.

Hamilton said Rosberg had been "quick in lots of different places" but was unable to identify one weekend that stood out in particular.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ian Chadband)


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