FINAL SHOWDOWN: Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are heading into the final four races of the season with a 33-point gap between them. Image: AP / Eugene Hoshiko
Cape Town - The 2016 Formula 1 Drivers' championship is a two-way battle between Mercedes team mates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
F1 enters the final four rounds of the season with with the 2016 United States GP this weekend (October 21-23).
Rosberg leads Hamilton by 33 points, leaving Hamilton, the defending champion, with a mountain to climb if he hopes to grab the title.
Hamilton has won six races so far this season, while Rosberg has won nine. The two races have been won by Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
Reliability will be key
Heading into the finale stages of the 2016 season both Mercedes drivers are acutely aware that their Silver Arrow race cars have been plagued by reliability issues though Hamilton has suffered the most.
Whether it is engine that blowing-up in spectacular fashion or a mechanical gremlin that halts his performance, he has dealt with more reliability issues than Rosberg in 2016.
READ: Hamilton, Rosberg to finish season with 'faulty' clutch
Rosberg, on the other hand, never had to battle Hamilton in any real wheel-to-wheel racing in 2016. Hamilton would either botch a race-start or have started at the rear of the grid due to penalties.
Apart from the 2016 Malaysian GP, Rosberg had relatively few battles with rivals en route to either a win or podium finish, largely due to the reliability of his car.
Stats and figures
Interestingly, both drivers finished off the podium four times each in 2016 but it is Hamilton who leads the podium appearance - 13 podiums compared to Rosberg's 12. Hamilton finished in second place three times so far in 2016 and has finished in third place four times.
Rosberg finished second once and in third twice. Rosberg set the most number of fastest race laps compared to Hamilton (seven vs. three).
At the 2015 edition of the American GP, Hamilton famously won his third world title after Rosberg suddenly lost control of his car. Neither Rosberg nor Hamilton will seal the title this weekend with many points still up for grabs.
The title will either be decided at the Brazilian or Abu Dhabi grands prix.
Who do you think will win the 2016 F1 championship?