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Hamilton and Rosberg prepare for final reckoning

RIVALS: Hamilton, right, and Rosberg (PA)

BRITAIN’S LEWIS Hamilton will end his six years of hurt if he can ward off title rival and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the last race of the campaign and claim his second world championship following on from his winning season in 2008.

The 29-year-old racer goes into next weekend’s showdown in Abu Dhabi 17 points ahead of his German competitor, who, a week ago, won the penultimate Grand Prix in Brazil as Hamilton had to settle for second.

Despite the controversial rule change to the scoring system for the season’s finale, which sees double points awarded, Hamilton knows he will be lifting the world title if he can finish at least second or ahead of Rosberg.

The pair have enjoyed a fiery and sometimes personal battle for the championship over the course of the campaign, with both benefitting from the outstanding Mercedes car that saw the German team wrap up the manufacturers’ title early without any real threat.

Speaking ahead of the title decider, dubbed “the duel in the desert”, Hamilton said: “People talk about how long it's been since I won the title, but I honestly feel like I'm fighting for my first world championship all over again.

"Sure, I'm older and maybe a little bit wiser than I was back then. I've learnt a lot in the years since 2008, but I'm still the same driver.”

The ex-McLaren racer added: “I still have the same hunger, the same will to win, and I've been giving it everything I've got from the word go this season.

"I've had ups and downs along the way, but I've never once given up. I've managed to fight my way back from whatever has come my way and my approach doesn't change for this race.”

Meanwhile Rosberg remains adamant that he can eclipse the leader to snatch away the championship, which would represent his first-ever world title.

“"I absolutely believe I still have the chance to take the title in Abu Dhabi,” Rosberg said.

“It won't be easy, but I'll be full attack, just as I have been all season.

"Although this has been my first year fighting for a world championship, I've never felt more comfortable than I have done this year.”

He added: “The team behind us have done an incredible job and it's great they've given both of us equal opportunity to compete with each other.

“There have been difficult moments just as there have been amazing moments, but this is what Formula One is all about and I hope that everyone watching at home has enjoyed the story of this battle as much as I have.”

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