As the 2015 season draws to a close one question is on the lips of many a Formula One fan: Why couldn't Nico Rosberg have produced this form a few months ago?
From the moment the lights went out to start the year in Melbourne eight months ago, Lewis Hamilton never looked like losing the drivers' championship title he won last year. Indeed, he's led the points standings every step of the way.
He built his successful bid for a third championship on rock-solid qualifying performances: by the time the 12th race of the season was done his scoreline read 11 pole positions and one second place.
Rosberg, who held the upper hand on Saturdays last year at Mercedes, seemed not to have an answer. But just two races later he started his own string of five consecutive pole positions, putting Hamilton's side of the Mercedes garage on alert. Hamilton suggested an update to the car in Singapore has swung things in Rosberg's favour, and the timing certainly adds up. Rosberg, naturally, is remaining tight-lipped.
Hamilton demonstrated in Japan and the USA that he doesn't need to start ahead of Rosberg to finish in front of him. But the last two races have been Rosberg all the way, and he heads to this weekend's final in Abu Dhabi looking to head into the off-season with a hat-trick of victories to his name.
Rosberg has therefore ousted his team mate as the favourite for pole this weekend his odds on victory have shortened to 2.20 - his team mate remains favourite on 1.80. It's hard to make a case for backing anyone other than the Mercedes drivers to win outright. However both have had reliability problems recently, and you'll get a good price on either failing to finish inside the top ten: 6.50.
Podium and picks in Abu Dhabi
The Williams pair have to be considered potential top-three finishers, however. The FW37 should suit the Yas Marina circuit's combination of long straights and slow corners. Felipe Massa, who came a battling second last year, is on 6.50 to finish in the top three. Team mate Valtteri Bottas, also on the podium for Williams last year, is less favourably priced at 4.50.
Force India could be an interesting choice for the podium as well. The team can afford to gamble this weekend as they've already locked down a best-ever fifth in the championship and can't finish any higher. A risky strategy for Sergio Perez in Russia netted him third place: Perez is on 20.00 for a repeat this weekend and team mate Nico Hulkenberg is on 18.00.
Good odds on star of 2015
There are a few choice picks to be found in the bets for top-six finishers as well. Among them is Max Verstappen - the revelation of the year in his Toro Rosso who already has a pair of fourth place finishes to his name - on 6.00. Don't overlook his similarly impressive team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr, who's been cursed with dreadful unreliability this year, who's on 8.00.
Romain Grosjean has only driven for one team in his F1 career so far and Sunday will be his last for the time being, so he'll be especially keen to leave Lotus on a high. Their Mercedes power plant makes him a good candidate for a top-six finish, as did the performance shown by the car at Montreal, another track of high-speed straights and low-speed corners. Grosjean is on 7.00 to be one of the first six drivers home.
Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic