Hamilton questions Mercedes as Rosberg takes title

© F1 Pulse, 28 November 2016
© Mercedes AMG Petronas/Facebook

Nico Rosberg soaked up all the pressure in the final laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to finish second on Sunday securing his maiden world championship while teammate and race winner Lewis Hamilton wondered why Mercedes wouldn't let him fight for it.

© Mercedes AMG Petronas/Facebook

The 31-year-old, son of 1982 world champion Keke, is the 33rd driver and the third German, after Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, to clinch the Formula One drivers' title. It was the second father-son pairing to achieve the feat after Graham (1962) and son Damon Hill (1996), both the sons bagging the crown 34 years after their dads did.

"Two Rosbergs are world champions now!" Rosberg quipped. "If I got my statistics right."

His race, however, was intense particularly in the closing stages as Hamilton backed up Rosberg in hopes that the chasing Vettel and Max Verstappen get past and offer the cushion he needed to clinch the title.

"With those guys coming up in the end, really not very enjoyable those last few laps," Rosberg reflected. "Those last couple of laps with those two guys behind. If I dropped being them it's over so not enjoyable."

'I tried to help myself'

For Hamilton, who controlled the pace up front, it was a "relatively easy" win and questioned Mercedes' team orders to up his pace so that the team's win wasn't in any potential jeopardy.

© Mercedes AMG Petronas/Facebook

"I don't know why they didn't just let us just race. There was never a moment where I felt I was going to lose the race," reasoned Hamilton, who had retired from the race the other two times he started the Abu Dhabi GP from pole. "I don't feel I did anything unfair. We're fighting for a championship, I was in the lead, I control the pace. That’s the rules.

"I tried to help myself," he added later. "Because, obviously, I wasn't going to get help anywhere else."

Hamilton had been on the backfoot since his power unit failure that cost him the Malaysian GP win in October. He won the last four races of the season, the longest in F1 with 21 races, each from pole position but the reliability issues had done enough damage.

© Lewis Hamilton/Twitter

"I did everything that I could, particularly towards the end and obviously Nico had a very, very clean year without any real issues to be honest and that's why we sit in this position right now," pointed out Hamilton, who now has the record of taking the most number of wins in a season (10) without claiming the championship, breaking the previous benchmark of seven.

Force India feels the fourth

Vettel finished third, just 0.404 seconds behind Rosberg, and Verstappen fourth, 0.842 seconds adrift, owing to Hamilton's tactics in the lead.

"I would have liked to gain two more positions, because the speed was there; but it was difficult to make the move because the car in front also benefited from a tow," Vettel explained.

Verstappen's result was particularly impressive as he tapped the Force India Nico Hulkenberg at Turn 1 on the opening lap and spun. He rejoined in last place and fought his way up with a one-stop strategy.

Daniel Ricciardo came in fifth, thus finishing all his races this season, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Force India sealed fourth in the constructors' championship, its best result in F1, with the departing Hulkenberg in seventh and teammate Sergio Perez in eighth with the Mexican becoming the first Force India driver to collect 100 points in a season.

Force India secured the position early in the race after Valtteri Bottas retired with a suspension issue leaving only Felipe Massa, in his 250th and final Grand Prix, to bring home the points in ninth, the Brazilian maintaining his scoring record at the Yas Marina circuit.

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso grabbed the final point in tenth. Teammate Jenson Button ended his final F1 race with a suspension failure.

 

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