After a thrilling season, Nico Rosberg finished second in Abu Dhabi and won his first world title of his career. Whilst, Lewis Hamilton started from the pole and won the race, but that was not enough for him to win his fourth title.
On Saturday, Lewis Hamilton was the quickest driver on the grid, followed by Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo.
The two Mercedes drivers could not wish for a better start on Sunday. A clear start for both drivers secured them the first two position. Kimi Raikkonen had another good start, passed Daniel Ricciardo and moved up to the third position. Max Verstappen had a spin at the start of the race and dropped at the back of the grid.
Red Bull decided to go for a one-stop strategy for Verstappen and after a long stint, Max placed second behind Lewis Hamilton after the first drivers had finished their pit-stops.
Rosberg re-joined third, behind Verstappen, where he decided not to attack for a few laps, Raikkonen and Ricciardo were closing to Nico, and Mercedes informed Rosberg that he had to pass Verstappen. The German responded and on lap 20, after a long battle he managed to pass the Dutch and secure the second position.
Red Bull with a smart strategy managed to give an advantage to their drivers and be placed ahead of the Ferraris. Scuderia decided to let Vettel on track for many laps in order to be able to finish the race with a fresh set of super-softs. At the final pit-stop Sebastian, switched to super-softs and he managed to do some flying laps, pass Verstappen and move up to the third position, behind Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton’s ‘dirty’ strategy
From the begging of the race, Lewis knew that a victory was not enough for him. Nico Rosberg had to finish at least fourth, but that was not an easy task. It was difficult for the other teams to challenge Mercedes and stay close to the two drivers. Hence, the British had to use some “dirty tricks” as Vettel said.
“It was a tricky situation at the end with Lewis playing dirty tricks. It was tough out there. I didn’t want to be an issue. But at the end, I was thinking maybe to try to pass both of them but it didn’t work out.” The German reported to his team after the race.
Hamilton was trying to slow the race pace and allow to Vettel and Verstappen to catch Rosberg. Nico Rosberg was very close to Hamilton, but he didn’t want to risk any move, whilst the other two drivers behind were closing to him.
At the final laps, Mercedes gave orders to the British champion to pick up the pace, but Lewis said: “Let us race”.
A few moments later Paddy Lowe’s voice was heard from Mercedes radio and gave a direct order to Lewis: “Lewis, this is Paddy. We need you to pick up the pace to win this race.”, but again the Brit refused kindly by saying: “I’m in the lead right now. I’m quite comfortable where I am.”
Hamilton took the chequered flag, but Nico Rosberg was the big winner and wrote his name on the list with the F1 world champions. The Rosbergs family is the second where both father and son have won the F1 world title. The first family was Hills family.
“It’s a childhood dream come true, thank you for everything.” It was some of Rosberg’s words through Mercedes radio after the chequered flag.
The German deserved to win this title, he fought hard, scored more points and in the final races he simply had to manage the gap from Hamilton.
Lewis Hamilton’s tricks at the final laps were tricky, but it was his only chance to win the world title. So, I agree with his move to try to slow down the pace of the race and let the other drivers come closer to Rosberg.
All the F1 drivers/champions have to fight if they want the title and that is what Nico Rosberg did. He was calm and concentrate even when he was under heavy pressure.
Congratulation to both Nico Rosberg and Mercedes for what they achieved this season. Hopefully, 2017 will be a better year for the sport.
It was a long season, and I want to thank you for your support, and finally I want to thank the Crew for allowing me to cover the season and the races.
Victor Archakis F1 Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @FP_Passion
(Images Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media)