Nico Rosberg celebrates after beating rival Lewis Hamilton into second place at the Brazilian Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg ended Lewis Hamilton’s five-race winning streak to take the chequered flag at the Brazilian Grand Prix and set up a double-points showdown in the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi.
Rosberg completed his utter dominance of the weekend at Interlagos with a vital victory to close the gap to Hamilton to 17 points, with the Briton having to settle for the runner-up spot.
Even with the controversial double-points system in place for the first time in Formula One history, Hamilton knows even if Rosberg wins again in Abu Dhabi he only needs to finish second to claim his second world title.
It was Mercedes' 11th one-two of the season, setting a new F1 record, whilst the Brackley-based team have now equalled the haul for most wins in a single campaign with 15.
It was a tremendous performance from Rosberg as he was quickest in all three practice sessions and topped the timesheet after each of the three qualifying runs, ultimately taking his 10th pole position this year.
It was, however, a mistake from Hamilton that aided Rosberg's cause as the former appeared on course to take the lead at the end of lap 28, only to take a minor spin.
Over the closing 20 laps there was consistently less than a second that separated the duo as Rosberg came under intense pressure from Hamilton, but managed to keep him at bay.
Come the flag, with Hamilton easing off on the final lap, 1.4secs was the gap between them, with Williams' Felipe Massa 41 seconds adrift in third, with McLaren's Jenson Button fourth.
It all now comes to a head at the Yas Marina circuit where Mercedes will be praying the fight is clean and their cars stay reliable, as was the case around all 71 laps at one of the sport's most-famous circuits.
Assessing his performance, Rosberg said: "I've been very happy the whole weekend, all weekend I've been feeling comfortable in the car.
"I was able to attack and control the gap to Lewis during the race, so that worked out great."
Hamilton conceded it was his mistake that cost him a sixth straight victory as he said: "It was an amazing race, I had a great time.
"But I made a big mistake in the mid-part race, but other than that the team did their usual great job and Nico drove well."
Looking ahead to Abu Dhabi, Hamilton added: "I'm going to drive pretty much the same. It's everything to play for."