Title battle still wide open, insists Allan McNish

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Former Formula One driver turned BBC motorsports analyst Allan McNish says that this year's world championship battle between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton is still too close to call, despite Rosberg having outscored his Mercedes team mate for the last five races to open up a 33 point lead in the standings.

"It's not over until it's over," McNish wrote in an article for the BBC Sports website this weekend, adding that fluctuating fortunes for both men could yet derail either driver's campaign in the last four races of the season.

"We have seen Rosberg have shocking races, such as Monaco, where he just seemed to be completely out of kilter," said McNish. "And we have seen Hamilton have weekends where he just did not seem to be quite at the races - such as Singapore, a track where he would be expected to be very good, but he just didn't quite have it."

McNish added that if Hamilton were to have a chance of hanging on to his crown, he would have to get on top of the problems that have bedevilled his race starts this season.

"Starts have been Mercedes' weak area this year, but for some reason Hamilton has had more difficulty than Rosberg - it's 5-3 in terms of bad starts.

"If I was Hamilton, I would simply focus hard on getting that sorted out, because he has to make four good starts in the final four races," he continued. "If he can sort that out, I think he can win the races, and after that he can't change anything more. He can just watch what happens behind him."

McNish backed Rosberg's mental approach of taking things one step at a time and not getting too wrapped up in winning the title at the risk of losing focus on the task in hand.

"If you win the race this weekend, and then the next race and so on, the championship takes care of itself. So don't look at the championship. Look at the races, because they make up the championship.

"I did the same during my career. Early on, when I was younger, I would look too far ahead when I was in a situation to win a championship.

"This is a high-stakes game. It's a world championship. The best driver in the world, by one measure, is going to be crowned at the end of the year. Don't tell me there is anyone in sport who would not have some nerves in that situation. Everybody does. Fact."

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