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The points table might have said there was nothing at stake in this season finale, but for Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton there was a psychological war to be won or lost. And – as befits the man in form – it was Rosberg who won it, to head into the off-season as a driver who beat his team-mate for the last three consecutive races, the pole-sitter for the last six. This was arguably the most convincing of all his recent wins – and essentially it was won in resounding fashion during qualifying. Rosberg’s recent form had pushed Hamilton into trying something different on set-up but that only seemed to increase Rosberg’s advantage. So once Nico had won the start, pulled out a decent gap, Lewis’s last remaining hope was a strategic one. His was the quicker Mercedes in the second stint – and he made his tyres last better. So that put in place an intriguing possibility. On this occasion Mercedes was happy to let him go with it, to try to get that middle stint to be 10 laps longer so that he’d be on tyres calculated to be 0.8-1sec faster than Rosberg’s for the last 14 laps – the calculated minimum required to be able to overtake here. Before he got to try that, however, he came up with an alternative strategy of his own. Just as in Mexico, he began to ponder about what would happen if he just didn’t make that second stop, if he just stayed out there leading after Rosberg had pitted. Could he steal this win, using strategy to do what his qualifying pace had failed to?