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The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was not a winner-take-all event, Lewis Hamilton needed help if he was ever going to wrest the title from his teammate, Nico Rosberg, who held a 12-point lead heading into the season’s final race.

Lewis knew that a podium finish for Rosberg was going to cost him the title and while reliability issues with his own car earlier in the season may have been the reason he was trailing in points; he wasn’t banking on Nico’s car having issues as it has been relatively bullet-proof all season long. Hamilton needed help from the Red Bull or Ferrari cars to win the title and he tried his best to keep Rosberg in the clutches of the competition.

While Lewis Hamilton secured his 53rd race victory and tried his best to back his teammate up into the clutches of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg managed to stay in second place and secure his first world driver’s championship just as his dad had done 34 years ago making him them second father/son champions behind Graham and Damon Hill. Vettel came in third to complete the podium.

WinWin

A win for Nico Rosberg who secures his first title despite efforts of his teammate to keep him in constant threat from either Red Bull or Ferrari. Nico managed his race and his car to take second and just as he had done all year, he took it a race at a time and played the long game looking for pace, car sympathy, resource management and damage limitation. All metrics a head’s up driver uses to maximize his results. He won the Drivers Championship by five points.

A win for Lewis Hamilton who did everything he could to claw the title away from his teammate. Lewis won the race and aggressively backed his teammate up into competitive traffic where anything can happen and nearly did with a charging Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. Lewis knew he needed help and did the best job he could, even ignoring team directives to pick up the pace, to alter Nico’s race and get him dislodged from the podium.

A win for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel for their podium result and head’s up performance in strategy and driving from the 4-time world champion. Vettel had the pace but also understood the situation and wasn’t going to ruin the race and title aspirations of his countryman by colliding with him in the waning laps of the race. Had it been Max Verstappen behind Rosberg, perhaps things would have ended differently.

A win for Force India by securing 7th and 8th giving them a massive constructor’s championship points haul which secured 4th in the championship standings. That’s worth millions of dollars in Formula 1 and the team did a fantastic job all season long beating Williams F1.

A win for both Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso by finishing in the points. What better way to end a career than by giving Williams a point finish and closing the chapter on the Felipe Massa era? For Alonso, another points finish in a car that has conspired to work against him all season is yet another sign the Spaniard is still one of the best in the business.

A big win for Sauber who held off the Manor Racing cars to secure 10th in the constructor’s title race which means millions in prize money for a team that desperately needs it.

FailFail

A fail for Toro Rosso who had more tire issues this weekend and a dual retirement in the grand prix. Admittedly it was the clouting Carlos Sainz received from Renault’s Jolyon Palmer that ended his race but to be fair, it was a relatively ragged race up to that point anyway.

A fail for McLaren’s Jenson Button who ended his race with a damaged front right wheel suspension after running over the larger orange curbing. Not a successful way to end your career with a DNF but then again, David Coulthard did the same in Brazil and he’s still as loved as Button will be in the coming years.

A fail for Jolyon Palmer who ran up the backside of Carlos Sainz ruining the Spaniards race. Palmer looked good early in the race but drifted backwards over the balance with worn tires finishing last in the official classification.

A fail for Williams F1 and Valtteri Bottas who ended their race early with a suspected rear suspension issue.

WTHWTH

A WTH moment for the Manor drivers who were clashing with each other and others in a race that had a decent amount of attrition and this could have been their chance to score some points to re-claim 10th in the constructors’ championship.

ecclestone-rosbergWhen excited, try not to pick up 83-year-old men…you could break their hip. 

It will be interesting to see if anything is said about Lewis Hamilton ignoring team orders to pick the pace up. The team said they would pit Lewis early if they felt he was backing Nico Rosberg. Team boss Toto Wolff didn’t look too pleased after the race and one wonders if that was due to Hamilton’s blatant disregard of team instructions or his missing the world title. Regardless, you would expect Lewis to try every trick in the book and surely his backing Rosberg up couldn’t have been a surprise nor would his ignoring team instruction.

Congratulations

rosberg-nico-abu-dhabi-2016Congratulations to Mercedes and Nico Rosberg for winning both Driver and Constructor titles in 2016.

2016 Season Results:

POS DRIVER CAR
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes
8 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda
11 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari
12 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari
13 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes
14 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari
16 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari
17 Jolyon Palmer Renault
Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari
Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari
Jenson Button McLaren/Honda
Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes
Kevin Magnussen Renault

Final Drivers’ Championship:

POS DRIVER POINTS
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’ Championship:

POS CONSTRUCTOR POINTS
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
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Race
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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • T-Batwoman

    A perfectly executed race from both Mercedes drivers:

    I’m glad Lewis did not follow team orders and did everything he possibly could to win, this is racing and he is a champion, backing up other drivers is not dirty, it is racing. I’m glad he did not roll over and become Paddy’s lap dog.

    I was skeptical of Rosberg becoming a deserving champion but today he showed that he has what it takes to pull off a masterclass drive. I don’t know how he managed to keep in second and not torch his tires thru the last few laps while simultaneously eating Lewis’ dirty air and defending against Vettel.

    A big WTF for Button, I am a huge fan of JB and he acted like a petulant asshat today, very disappointing. The contrast between he and Filipe’s grace and appreciation could not have been greater.

    • jakobusvdl

      What did Button do?

      • T-Batwoman

        In his post retirement interview he was being arrogant and sarcastic, I mean we get it, McLaren is down this year but have some perspective after your last F1 race in an extensive career. More of the same in Ted’s notebook after the race. Ever since he and Jessica split he has been somewhat of a schmuck.

        • Zachary Noepe

          Yeah especially since his F1 carrer was longer than it had any right to be and his ‘championship’ a fluke. On the other hand, the undeserving are often defensive this is nothing new.

          • Tom Firth

            To be fair to JB, he was rather drunk in Ted’s notebook, and is known for his sarcastic responses even when sober, so I think that just came out more, not seen the other bit.

          • Max Johnson

            He was having fun so don’t know why some take it so seriously. I thought he was great in both the Sky and BBC post coverage. For what it’s worth, I know this is F1B so I shouldn’t admit to this, but I previously blocked the person making the original comment (probably for good reason) so I won’t take this complain against JB seriously.

          • Zachary Noepe

            Well said. I remember the days when being drunk counted as a legitimate excuse for making a terrible mistake, and benefitted often. I withdraw my objection to JB’s snark. Good point Tom Firth.

        • jakobusvdl

          Ouch, that will put his ‘class act’ under strain, I wonder if he’ll be resigning from his McLaren ambassador role, as well as the 2018 driver-in-waiting position

  • jakobusvdl

    Thumb Up: Rosberg – Congratulation on becoming Drivers World Champion 2016.
    Thumb down: I’ll never know……..
    WTH: Me – Recording 5 hours of dross instead of the race! Wrong Channel – Nooooo!

  • Tim C.

    I really didn’t care who won this year’s drivers title. So, I had absolutely no dog in that fight. It mattered not to me.

    But, if I was Nico and Lewis was playing the game of backing me into the competition to help in winning the title, then all tactics would have been fair game at that point. I might have even been inclined to pull a Senna on Lewis so he didn’t see the checkered flag. I can certainly see Lewis considering this option if the tables were turned.

    Sure, backing Nico into the competition was perfectly legal. But, in my mind that’s not racing. I guess this is the reason I’m not a driver in Formula 1.

    Now, before I get called a Lewis hater, I think Lewis is an awesome driver. He’s got the talent that’s for sure. And, I see him winning many more titles before he hangs his helmet up. I just think he is better than what he tried to pull on Nico. This just wasn’t his year.

    • Zachary Noepe

      I agree with you that Lewis is an amazing driver, I really admire his ability. I disagree with you that he’s better than what he did today. I think what he did today was cheap and desperate and insecure and pathetic, but consistent with his character.

    • T-Batwoman

      I disagree with your concept of racing and Lewis’ character but all of that aside it is always a really risky move trying to take someone out, it often backfires.

  • The Captain

    Decent race, but only because Lewis being coy. I really miss having Brazil be the end of the calendar.

    I’m gonna write up an autopsy on the NBC broadcast for the year and what they need to change to help F1 grow in the states (prob on my site) but the usual melancholy of realizing I have to wait a few month for another race are replaced by a relief from watching “The NBC presents the Max Verstapen show.” for a bit.

    Oh and next year my new F1 drinking game is drink every time Lee Diffy says “Story” Story line” “Remember” or asks a rhetorical question. good luck.

    • That drinking game would get you drunk before the lights went out, and in the hospital for alcohol poisoning before the first pit stops.

  • charlie white

    WTH: to FOM for taking viewers away from the race to see Roger Federer and Jorge Lorenzo in the Mercedes garage, a bored and uninterested Rita Ora overdressed for the occasion, the late arrival of Paris Hilton inside the Ferrari garage and the Jenson Button pit lane farewell walk(at least as I saw it on SkySports).
    Fail: put another track as the season finale instead of this quasi-street track Yas Marina.

  • Zachary Noepe

    Thumbs up to Vettel indeed who has endured (and created) a lot of negativity this year but had the dignity to respect and protect the validity of the championship. Acted like a man. Excellent.

  • Tadhg O’Donovan

    I have no problem with Lewis ignoring the team orders – what did they think he was going to do? The constructors is over it’s just between them, let them run their races as they choose, endless management of finishes to always get the 1-2 is hurting the brand rather than helping it.

    However what I cannot deal with is Lewis pouty reaction after the race. Race hard, but if you lose – as he was likely to do, throw down your helmet and celebrate with your rival. Take your loss like a man instead of a child. The whole not looking at Nico and turning his back on him is old. Grow up, be thankful you both made it out the end of another season and that you have had the privelage to be racing at the top level in the top car and being paid a ridiculous amount for it. Lewis is faster agreed, time to learn to be a gentleman. #teamLH my support today.

  • Derek

    Even in a car one might say is superior to the McLaren, Massa still can’t beat Alonso. It was an amazing season to see McLaren above Torro Rosso, and Alonso 10th in the driver’s championship!

  • Max Johnson

    Personally I wanted Lewis to win because I think he’s faster. While I do think it was unfair that the team tried to team order Lewis with his situation, I have to say it is disappointing that he was not very gracious in ‘defeat’ and simply did not want to genuinely congratulate Nico. They had been racing each other all their lives and both become champions, you would think Hamilton would give Nico some credit. Nico definitely was the more humble one and acted more like a proper champion after the race.

    Also I’m giving the Matt Bishop award to BBC, which I don’t really read, but they just had three incredibly bias articles in a row right after the race:
    “Is Rosberg a worthy F1 world champion”
    “Champion – but does Rosberg deserve it”
    “Champion Rosberg will never be Hamilton’s equal” (He is still not – and never will be – Hamilton’s equal as a racing driver.)

    Now I will definitely never read BBC F1 articles again, or at least not anything written my Andrew Benson.

  • Wayne Rentoul

    What a race, being a Ferrari fan I was so rooting for Vettel at the end of the race, but quickly realised that he would never pass Lewis, even if he got Nico…
    There has been a lot of discussion about Lewis being the faster driver, more deserving, etc, etc (and it is pissing me off more than just a little). To me this is a complete load of bunk, Nico did exactly what he had to do to win the title, and in the same way Lewis ‘backed off’ for the last 3 races in 2015, I don’t think for 1 minute that Nico was at full stretch either… If you are leading the championship, and only need to finish in 2nd for the last 3 races, are you really going to take that chance and pass your closest rival on track for points you don’t need? Or are you really going to give Quali 110% and risk putting it in the wall?
    Nico played the perfect strategy.
    Yes, Lewis’ engine let go, but it only did because maybe he was pushing a little harder than Nico, because Nico was a little closer this year. Reliability of your machinery is also part of the Championship, and Lewis was hard on gear this year – there is a limit…
    I applaud Nico on his retirement from F1, reading his statements in the press, I think he would have done this either way (win or lose) as he had nothing left to give. Possibly didn’t trust the team to not get involved in the Drivers’ Championship if he told them, but you could see it…
    He put his life outside F1 on hold this year, and focused completely on beating Lewis. Sacrificing time with your first born child, to win? That is commitment! (But it is not sustainable over more than a year or two at most…)
    I wonder how Lewis would have gone this season if his focus was similar. It would be a great battle, but we will never get to see it, unfortunately…
    So BRAVO NICO! F1 champion for 2016, well played