THE SEASON FINALE

 
“It was a tricky situation at the end, with Lewis playing dirty tricks.” (Vettel)
 
Well. Dirty tricks? Or a fair attempt at doing the only thing he could to become world champion for the 4th time…? Opinions are divided. Lewis Hamilton won the race, but lost the championship battle to Mercedes team mate and old karting rival Nico Rosberg at a slightly subdued race at the Yas Marina Circuit.
 
abu dhabi formula one gp 2016

Abu Dhabi GP Race Results 2016

1st: Lewis Hamilton
2nd: Nico Rosberg
3rd: Sebastian Vettel
4th: Max Verstappen
5th: Daniel Ricciardo
6th: Kimi Raikkonen
7th: Nico Hulkenberg
8th: Sergio Perez
9th: Felipe Massa
10th: Fernando Alonso
 
“It’s a childhood dream come true.” (Rosberg)
 

Nico Rosberg Wins the 2016 Formula One Championship

 
The German celebrated with doughnut spins on the pit straight, then climbed on the nose of his car to receive the crowd’s congratulations. He later gratefully kissed the car that helped him win.
 
It was Rosberg’s 1st world championship win, following an intense battle with Hamilton this year; both drivers finding, losing and re-finding their form over 21 races. It also puts an end to a long 10 year wait for Rosberg, only the second longest wait for a title in Formula One after Nigel Mansell, with a 12 year wait. It is only the 2nd time in Formula One history that a father and son have both won the World Championship – Nico’s father Keke Rosberg won in 1982. The 1st being Graham and Damon Hill.
 
With 10 victories this season, Hamilton now holds the record for the most wins in a season without eventually becoming World Champion. He has been criticised for deliberately driving slowly, in order to allow other drivers to catch up with Rosberg, his only hope for a world championship win relied on Rosberg finishing lower than 3rd place. At one point this looked possible, as Rosberg came out behind Verstappen following his 1st pit stop and then received pressure from Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Vettel.
 
Hamilton was repeatedly asked by Mercedes to speed up, instructions which he repeatedly ignored.
 
“I suggest you just let us race.”
 
Even Mercedes Executive Technical Director Paddy Lowe tried to get the message through to Hamilton: “Lewis, this is Paddy. We need you to pick up the pace to win this race.” To which he replied, “I’m in the lead right now. I’m quite comfortable where I am.” Is there a cause for disciplinary action here?
 
On Lap 19 Mercedes were on the radio again – this time to impart to Rosberg the need for him to pass Verstappen – which he did on the following lap through turns 8 and 9. But Hamilton’s pace controlling tactics meant that Verstappen was never much more than 3 seconds behind the German. Rosberg also had to withstand late pressure from Sebastian Vettel.
 

Jenson Button Final GP Ends in Disappointment on Lap 12

Jenson Button’s final Grand Prix ended on Lap 12 when his front suspension broke after coming into contact with the kerb, but he remained philosophical: “the result doesn’t count. The weekend does. It has been awesome, from the fans, to before the race, a load of the team lined up and I walked between them and they clapped me into the garage. Very emotional…”
 
Felipe Massa finished 9th in his final Grand Prix.
 
So, we now have a new Formula One World Champion. One who since writing this has retired from the sport…a shock? Who will partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season? What will the other teams look like? Can they bridge the gap between themselves and Mercedes? Can we expect engines/car improvements? Can Max Verstappen become a World Championship contender? Will there be even more rules for us to learn…?
 
Let’s relax, enjoy Christmas and regroup. March isn’t far away.