Hamilton wins the battle but Rosberg wins the war

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but was unable to keep Nico Rosberg from taking the title.

Hamilton backed off at strategic points during the race as he tried to help Rosberg’s rivals overtake the Mercedes. But it was to no avail – the pair crossed the line in first and second with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen right on their tails.

Vettel had picked off three cars after a late pit stops to take a set of super-softs but was unable to find a way past the Mercedes on Yas Marina’s long straights.

Verstappen came fourth despite a first-lap spin, leading home Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.

Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez took seventh and eighth, securing a best-ever fourth in the championship for Force India. That was assured once Valtteri Bottas made an early exit from the race.

Fortunes varied for Felipe Massa and Jenson Button in their final races. The Williams driver took points for ninth but Button dropped out early following a suspension breakage. The other McLaren of Fernando Alonso claimed the final point.

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “Hamilton wins the battle but Rosberg wins the war”

  1. Said this before, but I’ll repeat it here… Vettel was like “Hang on guys, I want the podium to be a clean sweep of WDC winners!”

    3 WDCs on the podium with 8 titles between them!

  2. Well done Rosberg, well done matey! Well done to Hamilton but well done to Vettel also for being on the podium even if it means… almost nothing! See you in 2017!

  3. Oh, forgot to add – you totally called it @keithcollantine – you teased out the distinction between Hamilton stating that backing up a driver would be hard to point out that Hamilton never said he would not back up Rosberg.

    While it felt like a bit of a dirty trick to me, fair play to Hamilton, he deployed this tactic at the perfect time, against a hard charging Vettel. David Coulthard on C4 was earlier wondering if Hamilton lost his opportunity earlier on in the race, but he timed it perfectly.

    Good that Rosberg held his nerve then, as during the earlier instance when he overtook Verstappen superbly – it was probably the overtake that safeguarded his championship.

  4. Poor Toto and Paddy I wonder what there bonus was what a farce what they said to Lewis. Every incident that Ni o caused in contact we all hear next time they will pay for it. I would have loved to of seen the reaction to Vet hitting Ros they may have even sacked Hamilton is a farce. I hope Hamilton goes to Ferrari he will destroy Vet who got beat by Ric and could not even beat Kimi in qually.

  5. Congratulations to Rosberg! What a great season by him

    1. He didn’t even win the most races. hahaha. Great season indeed.

      1. Like father like son.

  6. Nothing illegal from Hamilton today (we had more than enough in Mexico) but rather disgusting way to lose a championship. And btw he did exactly what he said he would never do. So there.

    1. Disgusting? Really?

    2. He was racing. It was tactics to force Rosberg either into a mistake or to be taken by the cars behind. Racing on and taking the win was pointless in itself, as he pretty much said to the team. Well played to both Hamilton for the tactic and Rosberg for defending against it.

  7. Well done Nico! You are a good champion.

  8. well done to nico.. not happy with hamilton’s tactics, I’m sure his team is not either, could have ended in disaster. Verstappen’s spin actually gave him a better finish then he would have achieve without spin… in hindsight, Redbull should have kept Ricciardo out longer on the first stint tyres… Ricciardo would have won the race.

    1. If you bothered watching Free practice, you’d have seen neither Redbull or Ferrari where not where near the pace of the Merc’s. They couldn’t even get them when Hamilton was driving 9 seconds off his pole pace. There was never any risk of a ‘disaster’. The moment Vettel gets past Rosberg, Hamilton would have picked up his pace. Simple.

  9. Hamilton made the race worth watching. He may not have done himself any favors within the team, but seeing as Rosberg has been getting all the favors, it hardly matters. If nothing else, he exposed the obvious, blatant truth: Team Mercedes had two drivers in with a shot of the title, long after the constructor’s battle had been decided, and the only cared about one of them winning. It was almost comical listening to Paddy & Toto try to explain to Johnny Herbert why they felt the need to influence the title in Rosberg’s favor. A lot of stuttering & talking about how Nico deserved it, instead of actually answering the question.

    1. @Aldoid +1000

      Lewis’s race was amazing as expected! Agreed, it was absolutely hilarious. As the commentators stateside said, Niki threatened Lewis that they would pit Nico if he backed the cars up. There’s a lot going on at Mercedes – Lewis has been battling on many fronts, you can tell.

      I’m surprised Mercedes didn’t start a kickstarter campaign to make Nico the WDC, or… maybe they have:-)

    2. Mercedes have been a disgrace all season long. That radio message by Paddy makes it difficult to ignore the claims that Mercedes have interfered with Lewis’ engine through the season – how Paddy could take sides so blatantly (Mercedes were not under threat of losing the WDC, one of their two drivers was going to win regardless of what happened in the race) was a disgrace.
      What a shame – though I’m not really surprised.

      1. I think it’s less that they wanted Nico as champion (or it would have happened already) and more about the top dogs making bonuses from a 1-2 finish.

  10. Some great contrast in the emotion of this picture to some recent ones. Congratulations Rosberg! Congratulations Mercedes! Congratulations Germany!

  11. Mercedes got their well deserved championship and force India their first ever p4 wow

    1. Absolutely, great job from Force India, well deserved!

  12. I want to know what Bernie wanted to say to Nico off camera in the cool down room.
    Bernie mentioned not on camera and moved off with Nico while the camera focused on Lewis and Seb, then when it went back to Bernie and Nico Nico said he didn’t need that kind of stress.

    It was probably something like now Nico’s kid has to become WDC, but was interesting that Bernie didn’t want their words caught on camera.

    1. I think he might have hinted that he would not like Nico to talk much about the way Lewis went about defending his lead @9chris9

  13. The most recent three world champions on the podium in the race that decides the champion: just like when Vettel won his first in 2010, with Hamilton and Button on either side.

  14. Yay!! Fantastic! Big grats to Nico!!

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