Nico Rosberg wins Formula One World Championship, Hamilton wins race
Nico Rosberg has finally won his first Formula One World Championship after finishing second place in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
Rosberg’s Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton won the race, but not the championship as he failed to overcome the points deficit to Rosberg that he had coming into the race.
Nico and his father Keke Rosberg make up the second father-son combination to win the Formula One World Championship. Before them, Graham and his son Damon Hill were the only pair. Coincidentally, both Keke (1982) and Nico’s (2016) championships came 34 years apart, like they did for Graham’s first (1962) and Damon (1996).
The Grand Prix was the 21st and the final race of the longest season in Formula One history.
Hamilton led the field away for the first of 55 laps on Sunday evening in Abu Dhabi. While he and Rosberg were quick to settle into positions 1 and 2 respectively, there was drama in Turn 1 as the Red Bull of Max Verstappen went for a spin after contact with Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India. Verstappen dropped to the back but was able to continue, while Kevin Magnussen of Renault wasn’t as lucky as damage from a Lap 1 incident ultimately took him out of the race.
Valtteri Bottas, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz and Jenson Button also failed to finish, with Button receiving a standing ovation from the fans after making – what was most likely – his final F1 start.
During the first round of stops, both Mercedes teammates were held up in the pits as they had to wait for the Ferrari teammates to enter their pit stalls. This meant that when Rosberg reemerged, he was behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
After several laps of running behind Verstappen, Mercedes told Rosberg to make the move on the Red Bull driver as his tires were beginning to go off. Rosberg went wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen in the chicane after the first DRS zone and then, coming out of the chicane alongside Verstappen, was able to use the second DRS zone to complete the move.
After the second round of stops, the Mercedes duo found themselves behind the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. However, Vettel did have to come in for a late stop, which allowed him to close in on the leaders in the closing stages.
Hamilton started to hold up Rosberg with less than 10 laps ago, bringing Verstappen and Vettel into the lead battle. Vettel passed Verstappen for third and closed in on Rosberg, but was unable to make a move by the German. Hamilton won the race but Rosberg took the title in second. Further back in the points, Felipe Massa finished ninth in his final F1 race.
“That was definitely not the most enjoyable race I've ever had,” admitted Rosberg on the podium, who dedicated the championship to his wife and family. “With Max at the beginning and with those guys coming at the end… very, very glad that it's over.”
Unofficial race results:
1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari
4. Max Verstappen – Red Bull
5. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull
6. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari
7. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India
8. Sergio Perez – Force India
9. Felipe Massa – Williams
10. Fernando Alonso – McLaren
11. Romain Grosjean – Haas
12. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas
13. Esteban Ocon – Manor
14. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor
15. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber
16. Felipe Nasr – Sauber
17. Jolyon Palmer – Renault
18. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso (DNF)
19. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso (DNF)
20. Jenson Button – McLaren (DNF)
21. Valtteri Bottas – Williams (DNF)
22. Kevin Magnussen – Renault (DNF)