The intense rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg increased Thursday heading into the final race of the season with Rosberg taunting his Mercedes teammate by urging him to "drive cleanly."

Tensions between the pair have spilled over on two notable occasions this season, at the Monaco Grand Prix in May and the Belgian Grand Prix in August.

Only 17 points separate Hamilton, the championship leader, from Rosberg ahead of Sunday's Abu Dhabi GP.

With double points up for grabs, Rosberg can clinch his maiden title — and deny Hamilton his second — if he wins the race and Hamilton finishes third.

Hamilton has won five of the past six races, and finished second in the previous race in Brazil.