F1 preview: Tensions mount as Mercedes duo chase world crown

Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg
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The 2016 F1 World Championship continues this weekend when the 16th round of the season take place at the Sepang track in Malaysia.

The race for the world crown is fascinatingly-poised with Nico Rosberg leading the way on 273 points, just eight clear of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

The Brackley-based racers have been the class of the field for the third successive season, racking up 14 race victories between them.

“I feel pretty relaxed at the moment,” said Rosberg leading into this weekend’s race as he continued his hunt for a first F1 world title.

“I have been enjoying my racing since we returned following the short summer break and I am looking forward to the races ahead.”

With the stakes high and time running out, this weekend’s race in Malaysia is expected to be a tense yet fierce one between the two Mercedes men, although Hamilton reckons the weather could have a say.

He said: “We have seen some pretty wild weather in Malaysia before and I can see that we will see some rain. When it rains here it can be very heavy and if that comes during qualifying or in the middle of the race, then it can really make a difference.”

Force India duo Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg are currently eighth and ninth respectively in the drivers’ standings and will be hoping to bounce back this weekend following disappointment last time out.

“Sadly Nico crashed out in Singapore,” said Perez. “So this weekend the aim for the team is for both of us to score as many points as possible.

“I have finished on the podium twice so far this season, and I will be driving as hard as I can, but I know that this race can be very tough and offer many difficult conditions.”

Another driver looking forward to the weekend is Toro Rosso racer Daniil Kvyat.

The Russian youngster was back on the pace in Singapore, finishing in ninth position, after a torrid few months.

It was only his third point-scoring finish since rejoining the Bicester-based Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso team in May.

He said: “I was really pleased with how I raced in Singapore and I think I can go well again this weekend.

“For the team it is important for both Carlos (Sainz) and I to score points as we are seventh in the Constructors’ race and it would be great to catch and overtake McLaren for sixth.”