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Rosberg shines on final day in Abu Dhabi as Mercedes end 2015 F1 campaign with a bang

Photo courtesy: The Guardian
Photo courtesy: The Guardian

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg grabbed the headlines in the season-ending race at Abu Dhabi, recording a comfortable win with a time of 1:38:30.175.

World Champion Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, again failed to make headway in the final race of the season as he had to settle for second place, finishing 8.271 seconds behind his teammate.

Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen claimed the final place in the podium, finishing 19.430 seconds behind Rosberg. His teammate Sebastian Vettel put in an impressive show to claim the fourth spot despite starting the race from the 16th position, following his poor performance during qualifying. Force India’s Sergio Perez finished in fifth place ahead of Red Bulls’ Daniel Ricciardio, his teammate Nico Hulkenberg and Williams’ Felipe Massa, who claimed the sixth seventh and eighth place respectively. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat claimed the final point positions, finishing ninth and tenth respectively.

Rosberg got off to a flyer from the pole, while his teammate Hamilton came under immediate pressure from Räikkönen following a comparatively slower start, Rosberg, after building a 7-second lead over Hamilton, decided to pit on Lap 10 to get a fresh set of tyres. Still, he did not lose his top position to teammate Hamilton, who decided to pit soon afterwards.

The German then came under immense pressure as Hamilton closed the gap to only a second before he made his second pit stop on Lap 32.

Hamilton, who this time did not follow his teammate to the pits, went on to establish a substantial 15-second lead over his teammate.

The Briton wanted to finish the race in the same set of tyres, but he was warned by his engineer that he would be taking a big risk. So Hamilton, after deciding to heed his engineer’s advice, finally made a pit stop in the 41st lap.

With 14 laps remaining, Hamilton rejoined the race 11.5 seconds behind Rosberg after changing his tyres to softs (rather than the supersofts).

Although Hamilton’s engineer was heard on the team radio saying, “Pace is looking good”, the former McLaren driver was unable to make up lost ground, and he finally ended up finishing behind his teammate, who recorded his third successive victory.

After the race Hamilton admitted that he was confused by his team’s strategy at the Yas Marina circuit.

“You have to rely on the engineers to give you the optimum strategy at that point,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.

“Honestly I don’t really understand it, I came out 11 seconds behind and had a mountain to climb and then the tyres went off.”

Despite Hamilton’s woes, Mercedes managed to make a strong finish as a team, creating a new F1 record of most one-two finishes and points in a single season.

Ferrari also did well in the final race of the season, claiming the third and the fourth spots at the Yas Marina circuit.

2015 Driver Standings

Driver Team Points
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 381
Nico Rosberg Mercedes 322
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 278
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 150
Valteri Bottas Williams 136
Felipe Massa Williams 121

2015 Constructor Standings

Team Points
Mercedes 703
Ferrari 428
Williams 257
Red Bull Racing 187
Force India 136

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