Nico Rosberg secured his first Formula One world title in Sunday night’s 2016 season finale at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Crossing the line in a very close second place behind race winner and his rival for the crown, teammate Lewis Hamilton, Nico’s first crown was never really in doubt, even though in the latter stages Hamilton did all he could to back Rosberg into the competition.
34 years after his father Keke Rosberg, the younger Rosberg was elated at the end of the 55 lap event, even though many things were sent to frustrate him and possibly force him into an error.
Max Verstappen, who started the race in 6th, got into a spin on the opening lap and went tumbling down through the field, however, this incident put him into a solid second place after the leaders pitted, the Red Bull driver trying his best to hold Rosberg up and allow his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, to challenge the two Ferrari’s behind them.
Rosberg kept his cool through the situation, sitting patiently behind the Red Bull until the team told him he needed to push and get past, because by that stage, Verstappen had put himself up and into a one stop strategy. Nico made the move with ease and went about catching up to Hamilton.
Towards the end of the race, Lewis knew that his chances of winning the crown were extremely minimal with Rosberg in a solid second place, so he began to slow and force his teammate into the waiting clutches of third placed man, Sebastian Vettel, who was on faster fresher rubber, all to no avail.
Rosberg sailed over the line and took the title, five points clear of Hamilton.
"It is unbelievable that I managed to do it," Rosberg told Sky Sports F1. "It's an amazing feeling because the race was so intense. So, so, so horribly intense. It's not possible to explain the intensity. "Even the battle with Max, it was a horrible feeling out there. Then again at the end as they were coming up from behind with two laps to go, and this is the world championship we're talking about, if I drop behind those two, if I make a mistake. Vettel with more grip and everything, it was horrendous. The biggest feeling is relief, I'm so glad it's over and I can't wait for the celebrating now."
"At the end, Lewis was trying to back me into everybody else because that was the chance he was trying to use. He did it really, really well because there was no chance to overtake him at the same time. Lewis is an unbelievable competitor, one of the best of all time, [in the] longest season ever I beat him in unbelievably tough conditions."
Congratulations Nico Rosberg!
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:38:04.013
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, + 0.439
3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, + 0.843
4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +1.685
5. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, + 5.315
6. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, + 18.816
7. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, + 50.114
8. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 58.776
9. Felipe Massa, Williams, + 59.436
10. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 59.896
11. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 76.777
12. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, + 95.113
13. Esteban Ocon, Manor, +1 LAP
14. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, +1 LAP
15. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, +1 LAP
16. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, +1 LAP
17. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, +1 LAP