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Rosberg ends season on a high with third straight victory

Rosberg ends season on a high with third straight victory


Nico Rosberg beat teammate Lewis Hamilton to victory at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix‭, ‬signing off his year in style with a hat-trick of victories‭.‬
 

 

The battle between the Mercedes drivers was fairly routine to start with‭, ‬but took a twist at the second pit stops when Hamilton‭ ‬attempted an alternative strategy‭. ‬Ultimately he finished 8.2s shy of team-mate Rosberg‭, ‬but led for ten laps in the middle of‭ ‬the race as he attempted to switch to a one-stop strategy before being ordered to pit for a more conventional two-stop‭. ‬Although‭ ‬the gamble did not pay off‭, ‬it injected an element of intrigue in an otherwise dull race in which the top three finished as they started with Kimi Raikkonen in third‭.‬

 

The result means Rosberg finishes the season 59‭ ‬points adrift of his team-mate in the final standings‭, ‬but carries the momentum‭ ‬of six straight pole positions and three straight victories into 2016‭. ‬Nevertheless‭, ‬it will only act as mild consolation for Rosberg‭, ‬who was beaten to the title for the second season in a row this year by team-mate Hamilton‭.‬

Sebastian Vettel managed to pick his way through the field from 15th on the grid to fourth‭, ‬making the most of his Ferrari's pace and a different strategy to finish 24.3s behind team-mate Raikkonen in third‭. ‬Sergio Perez put in a solid performance to finish fifth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull‭, ‬Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India‭, ‬Felipe Massa for WIlliams‭, ‬Romain‭ ‬Grosjean in his last race for Lotus and Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat‭.‬

 

Rosberg made a quick getaway at the start of the race to comfortably lead into the first corner ahead of Hamilton‭, ‬Raikkonen and‭ ‬a fast-starting Perez‭. ‬At the back of the field Fernando Alonso collected Pastor Maldonado‭, ‬putting an end to the Lotus driver‭'‬s race and resulting in a drive-through penalty for Alonso‭. ‬Rosberg initially built a gap to Hamilton‭, ‬which he maintained through the first pit stops but saw close as the window for the second stop approached‭.‬

 

By virtue of running ahead on track‭, ‬Rosberg was the first of the Mercedes to pit each time‭, ‬making it nearly impossible for Hamilton to pass without an alternative strategy or a mistake from Rosberg‭. ‬Unlike at the last race in Brazil‭, ‬Hamilton was allowed‭ ‬to pursue a different approach to his tyre management and appeared to be angling for a one-stop strategy by staying out beyond‭ ‬the normal window for a second stop‭.‬

 

 

Hamilton believed he could keep the tyres in good condition until the flag‭, ‬but on lap 41‭ -- ‬ten laps after Rosberg made his second stop‭ -- ‬he was told to pit‭. ‬Hamilton later said he wished he could have tried the one-stop strategy‭, ‬which would have forced‭ ‬Rosberg to pass on track‭, ‬but as he rejoined on lap 42‭ ‬he was left in a lonely second place‭. ‬Despite pushing hard‭, ‬Hamilton did‭ ‬not have the pace to close on Rosberg again‭, ‬who managed his strategy to perfection to take the win‭.‬

 

1 NICO ROSBERG MERCEDES 1:38:30.175 25

2 LEWIS HAMILTON MERCEDES +8.271s 18

3 KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN FERRARI +19.430s 15

4 SEBASTIAN VETTEL FERRARI +43.735s 12

5 SERGIO PEREZ FORCE INDIA +63.952s 10

6 DANIEL RICCIARDO RED BULL RACING +65.010s 8

7 NICO HULKENBERG FORCE INDIA +93.618s 6

8 FELIPE MASSA WILLIAMS +97.751s 4

9 ROMAIN GROSJEAN LOTUS +98.201s 2

10 DANIIL KVYAT RED BULL RACING +102.371s 1


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