Rosberg wraps up F1 season with hat trick
Nico Rosberg ends the season with his third win at the Abu Dhabi GP. It was a high for Rosberg, even though his Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, had won the title four races ago last month.
After losing to Rosberg in Mexico and Brazil, Hamilton was determined to stop his German rival/teammate’s run of poles and victories. But Hamilton’s strategy to experiment with the car’s set-up and messing with the suspension before qualifying failed, and Rosberg snatch the pole position by more than 0.3 seconds.
During the race, Rosberg had already built a five-second lead going into this first pit stop on lap 10; but during his second stop on lap 31, Hamilton had closed the gap to just over a second. Hamilton took a chance and decided to delay his second pit stop, gambling on going for a harder run for a shorter distance on the last set of tyres. In the last two races, Hamilton had been unable to pass Rosberg when following close behind, so Hamilton was betting on the fresher tyres during the closing laps to help him to overtake.
Hamilton finally pitted on lap 41 and rejoined with a 11.5-second gap behind the other Silver Arrow, with 14 laps left. Although the burst of speed helped him close the gap by more than a second, whatever gains were lost as the tyres wore out. Rosberg, who was able to pace out his tyres, held Hamilton at bay to claim his sixth victory of the season.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen claimed his third podium finish of the season by coming in third, while teammate, Sebastian Vettel, managed to take fourth after starting from 15th position on the grid.
image: Clive Mason via The Guardian