ABU DHABI: Nico Rosberg wrapped up the Formula One season on a high by winning in Abu Dhabi on Sunday with teammate and triple world champion Lewis Hamilton second in a record 12th one-two finish of the year for dominant Mercedes.
The German’s third win in a row, from a sixth successive pole position, dashed Hamilton’s hopes of a 44th career victory in car 44 on the 44th anniversary of the founding of the United Arab Emirates.
The Briton, who clinched the title in Texas last month with three races to spare, finished 8.2sec behind after an attempt at a different strategy failed to produce the desired result.
The win was the 16th in 19 races for Mercedes.
“Austin was a tough weekend and since then I’ve just come back a lot stronger,” said Rosberg from the podium after spraying the sparkling rosewater used instead of the usual champagne. “I’m excited about how the end of the season went and next year — it can come any moment, it could start tomorrow if it were up to me, no problem. I don’t need any holidays.”
Hamilton had asked over the team radio with 15 laps to go whether he could go to the end having made only one pitstop to Rosberg’s two but was left in no doubt that such a move would not work.
He then pitted on the next lap, any hopes of a wheel-to-wheel battle over the final laps effectively disappearing into the night as he did so.
“In hindsight, once Rosberg had pitted I probably would have backed off a little bit and gone a bit longer… As that didn’t work out, the stop, going too long was probably not the right thing to do, but we gave it a try,” said Hamilton.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen took third place ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, who started 15th, for only the Finn’s third podium appearance of the season.
Rosberg’s win was his sixth of the season, 14th of his career, and a hat-trick first for the German who had never before managed to win three races in a row.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2015.