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With these words, Mercedes chief Niki Lauda implored Lewis Hamilton to defy distraction and do what he does best in pursuit of the 2014 title - plant Puma race boot to carbon-fibre bulkhead and go faster then any other race driver on Earth. But will it be enough? Andrew Benson investigates

"If you look at Lewis's career," says Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff, "drama and glory were always very near to each other. I don't know why that is. But when you describe this year - drama and glory. Very much beside each other."

In those few sentences, Wolff pretty much strikes to the heart of the story of 2014 so far. The question is, when one of the most intriguing title fights in years is finally resolved, will there be glory despite the drama, or will the drama stand in glory's way?

In theory, this championship should have been easy for the man in car number 44. Lewis Hamilton has been the faster driver, in the team with the fastest car, by miles. Night should have followed day. It yet might but, as so often seems to be the way with Lewis Hamilton, it has not quite worked out that way so far.

For various reasons, the other Mercedes driver, Nico Rosberg, has led the championship pretty much all year, and Hamilton has been chasing, trying to close a gap, always the one with the more work to do, the one under the most pressure.

After the Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton just edged back into the lead. Prior to that, he had led the championship once. That was back in May, after his run of four consecutive victories from Malaysia to Barcelona.

In between there have been mistakes, misfortune and sheer bad luck, all of which have played to the cliched view of Hamilton - that he is a stupendously fast driver, but also a dangerously fragile personality. Rosberg, the perceived wisdom goes, has been calmly going about his business, and his consistency has pressured Hamilton into vulnerability.

There have indeed been mistakes from Hamilton this year, more than you would get from, say, Fernando Alonso. But the truth of the season is much more nuanced than that.

Hamilton would be leading the championship by a comfortable margin, had he not had significantly the worst of the reliability at Mercedes.