Rosberg seals 2016 F1 title at tense Abu Dhabi finale

Rosberg seals 2016 F1 title at tense Abu Dhabi finale

28th Nov 2016 8:20 am

Force India seals a record fourth place in the Constructors' Championship.

Nico Rosberg clinched his maiden Formula 1 world championship by holding off Sebastian Vettel to finish second in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as rival Lewis Hamilton won the race.

Rosberg entered the 21st and final grand prix of the season with a 12-point lead and simply needed to be third or higher to take the title no matter where Hamilton finished.

Hamilton kept the pace slow in the final stint when leading Rosberg, backing the German into the pack, despite persistent calls from his Mercedes team to up speed.

But the tactic failed to pay off, with Rosberg soaking up the pressure from Vettel to guide his car home second.

As a result, Rosberg won the world title by five points at Yas Marina to become F1's 33rd world champion, 34 years after his father Keke achieved the feat.

Hamilton led Rosberg away at the start but the duo did not pull away from Kimi Raikkonen, who jumped Daniel Ricciardo, and Vettel.

Rosberg pitted a lap after Hamilton, ditching the ultra-softs for the softs, and like Hamilton was held in his box while a Ferrari entered the pits.

He rejoined behind Max Verstappen, who had spun at the first corner after contact with Nico Hulkenberg and had cut his way back through the field on the super-softs and was looking to extend his stint.

Mercedes told Rosberg he needed to pass Verstappen because the Dutchman was driving purposefully slow, setting up a tense couple of moments as the two went wheel-to-wheel with the Red Bull holding firm.

After backing off for a few laps, Mercedes told Rosberg to attack again and this time, the German made a pass stick through Turns 8 and 9 before covering the line into Turn 11 to retake second.

The second stops for both Hamilton and Rosberg were smooth, with the duo retaining formation as they rejoined second and third behind Vettel, who was running a long second stint, until the German pitted.

The gap hovered around the one-second mark for much of the remainder of the race, with Hamilton appearing to attempt to back Rosberg into the chasing pack.

The main threat was Vettel, who was last of the frontrunners to make a final stop and took on fresh super-softs. He passed both Red Bulls and closed in on the two Mercedes, bringing Verstappen with him.

Rosberg complained Hamilton was too slow while Mercedes instructed Hamilton to up the pace, including a message from technical boss Paddy Lowe, but the Briton replied at one point "let us race".

Ultimately, it didn't pay off as Hamilton crossed the line to win his 10th grand prix of the season, compared to nine wins for Rosberg, with his team-mate second.

Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo and Raikkonen completed the top six.

Force India's Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were seventh and eight respectively, securing fourth place in the constructors' championship for the outfit for the first time.

Felipe Massa finished the final race of his F1 career in ninth, with Fernando Alonso completing the top 10.

The Spaniard's McLaren team-mate Jenson Button had a disappointing final race before his likely retirement, the Briton hitting a kerb at Turn 10 hard, causing damage to the steering and forcing him out.

Carlos Sainz Jr retired with a gearbox problem, moments after he was hit by Renault's Jolyon Palmer, while his Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat also failed to finish.

RESULTS - 55 LAPS:

POSDRIVERCARGAPLAPS
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h38m04.013s 55
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 0.439s 55
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.843s 55
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1.685s 55
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 5.315s 55
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 18.816s 55
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 50.114s 55
8 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 58.776s 55
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 59.436s 55
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 59.896s 55
11 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m16.777s 55
12 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m35.113s 55
13 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 1 Lap 54
14 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1 Lap 54
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap 54
16 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap 54
17 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1 Lap 54
- Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari Collision 41
- Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari Gearbox 14
- Jenson Button McLaren/Honda Suspension 12
- Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes Suspension 6
- Kevin Magnussen Renault Collision 5

FINAL DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

POSDRIVERPOINTS
1 Nico Rosberg 385
2 Lewis Hamilton 380
3 Daniel Ricciardo 256
4 Sebastian Vettel 212
5 Max Verstappen 204
6 Kimi Raikkonen 186
7 Sergio Perez 101
8 Valtteri Bottas 85
9 Nico Hulkenberg 72
10 Fernando Alonso 54
11 Felipe Massa 53
12 Carlos Sainz 46
13 Romain Grosjean 29
14 Daniil Kvyat 25
15 Jenson Button 21
16 Kevin Magnussen 7
17 Felipe Nasr 2
18 Jolyon Palmer 1
19 Pascal Wehrlein 1
20 Stoffel Vandoorne 1
21 Esteban Gutierrez 0
22 Marcus Ericsson 0
23 Esteban Ocon 0
24 Rio Haryanto 0

FINAL CONSTRUCTORS' STANDINGS:

POSCONSTRUCTORPOINTS
1 Mercedes 765
2 Red Bull/Renault 468
3 Ferrari 398
4 Force India/Mercedes 173
5 Williams/Mercedes 138
6 McLaren/Honda 76
7 Toro Rosso/Ferrari 63
8 Haas/Ferrari 29
9 Renault 8
10 Sauber/Ferrari 2
11 Manor/Mercedes 1
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