Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has confirmed that Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are free to battle each other for the 2016 Formula One world championship.

Rosberg heads into this weekend’s final race of the season, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a 12 point advantage over his team mate and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton. The German just needs to finish on the podium in Sunday’s race to be guaranteed his first championship.

The Brackley based outfit have once again, for the third season in succession dominated Formula One with Rosberg and Hamilton taking all but two race victories between them this season.

Red Bull Racing have been the team’s closest challenger having overtaken Ferrari in the race to be best of the rest behind Mercedes. Max Verstappen took victory on his race debut with the team in Spain in May while Daniel Ricciardo won the Malaysian Grand Prix last month.

Speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, Lauda confirmed that the team will not tell their drivers how to race this weekend.

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