Rosberg gets his revenge despite Hamilton’s tactical slow-down

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix review

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Nico Rosberg became world champion in Abu Dhabi in a race of nail-biting tension which endured until the last lap of the season.

An audacious and unprecedented bid by Lewis Hamilton to back his team mate into their rivals kept Rosberg’s title hopes in doubt until the end – and put the outgoing world champion sharply at odds with his team.

And while the party started for Rosberg he had little time to reflect on just how close Hamilton’s plan had come to succeeding.

Hamilton speeds away them slows down

Verstappen finished fourth despite this
Hamilton’s victory prospects looked assured from the moment he smoothly pulled away from the lights. He didn’t so much as twitch in his team mate’s direction, let alone try to chop him on the run to turn one.

Behind them the Red Bulls paid the price of starting on the harder super-soft tyres. Kimi Raikkonen was immediately past Daniel Ricciardo into third. And Max Verstappen had Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India driving around the outside of him.

Understeering out of the first corner, Verstappen bounced off Hulkenberg’s sidepod and spun in front of the pack. He straightened the car up and headed off in pursuit, but losing the feisty young driver from the fray was not something Hamilton wanted to see in his mirrors.

Because, for all his pre-race talk of how difficult it would be to spoil Rosberg’s race at Yas Marina, it was clear from lap one Hamilton intended to give it a go anyway. Instead of cruising away from his team mate Hamilton was clearly managing his pace, allowing the chasing pack to keep in touch.

But with the ultra-soft tyres he had started on good for only a few laps, Hamilton couldn’t afford to hold the pack up for long. And before making his pit stop he needed to put in a quick lap to reduce the risk of being jumped by a rival if he had a slow stop himself.

On the fifth lap Hamilton backed off to a 1’46.8 – the top five were now covered by less than four seconds. Next time around he put his foot down. Raikkonen, third, was quick to warn Ferrari: “He’s really going now so don’t waste time”.

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Rosberg’s near-misses

Hamilton kept Rosberg under pressure
Sure enough Hamilton hit the pit lane entry on lap seven and Raikkonen followed him in, seizing the chance to undercut Rosberg. Hamilton was briefly delayed as Raikkonen passed him on the way to the Ferrari pit box. Raikkonen’s turnaround was among Ferrari’s quickest but not among the very quickest.

Even so the benefit of the undercut made him a potential threat to Rosberg. And when he pitted with Sebastian Vettel on the next lap and was held up by the Ferrari to an even greater degree than his team mate, it was clearly going to be close.

Rosberg threaded his way through Yas Marina’s pit exit tunnel and popped back onto the track fractionally ahead of Raikkonen. This was a major moment in the championship fight: Raikkonen ultimately finished last among the top six cars and a stint stuck behind a Ferrari on similar-age tyres could have cost Rosberg the top-three result he needed.

But Rosberg wasn’t out of the woods yet. Ahead of him lay Verstappen, who had made quick progress following his lap one slip-up. His best hopes of a good result now lay in a one-stop strategy, a plan which Hamilton’s slow driving had made a more realistic option.

“Don’t take any risks with Verstappen, you’re doing the right thing,” the Mercedes pit wall told Rosberg at first. But as the reality of Verstappen’s strategy dawned and the laps ticked down the advice changed. “It’s critical now we start passing Verstappen,” was a message Rosberg did not want to hear.

Going wheel-to-wheel with the driver who has attained notoriety during 2016 for his uncompromising moves was not an attractive prospect for Rosberg with the title on the line. “He went full-on aggressive of course, he didn’t given an inch as usual,” Rosberg reflected afterwards. “But fair play, we didn’t collide and I got by, so that felt amazingly good. It was an awesome feeling at the time.”

Notwithstanding Rosberg’s significant advantage thanks to his fresher tyres, this was still a gutsy piece of driving. The pair tiptoed around the slow chicane at turn eight and nine before Rosberg used his superior traction to out-drag Verstappen from the corner, keeping the Red Bull tucked up at turn 11. This was a vital job done.

Hamilton waits for Vettel

Hamilton backed off early on
With his first attempt at hampering Rosberg’s race having failed, Hamilton had one shot left to make Rosberg vulnerable to the chasing pack. This was to back off sharply in the final laps, bringing the opposition in range once more. Crucially, Mercedes would be unable to intervene directly as neither driver would require a pit stop in the final laps.

Hamilton and Rosberg made their final stops on laps 28 and 29 respectively. Raikkonen had already been in by this point, but having lost time scrapping with Ricciardo he was no longer a threat and nor was the Red Bull, despite having finally jumped the Ferrari.

Vettel, initially frustrated at having missed the chance to pit early, now converted to a long middle stint with the aim of running the super-soft for the final charge to the flag. With his rivals all on the softs, this made him a threat which the Mercedes pit wall took seriously.

Sure enough by lap 45 Vettel was seven laps into his final stint on super-softs and in that time had torn over 11 seconds out of Hamilton’s lead. With ten laps to go he was six-and-a-half seconds behind with the two Red Bulls separating him from the Mercedes.

Hamilton continued to lap far off his potential pace. Long prior to the race Mercedes had made it clear it would be ‘business as usual’ on the pit wall irrespective of the fact they had already won the constructors’ championship.

The team had previously warned Hamilton about holding his team mate up in other races. But with the championship hanging in the balance and the season laps away from ending, Hamilton took things to new extremes, putting Rosberg in an excruciating position.

Slowing Rosberg ‘not unfair’

Rosberg spent much of the race under pressure
Hamilton justified his tactics afterwards. “I don’t think I did anything dangerous today,” he said. “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.”

The circumstances of the championship fight were also weighing on the race leader’s mind, particularly as the team made increasingly insistent calls for him to speed up. “I’m in a position where I’ve obviously had a lot of points lost during the season so for me, I’m out there fighting and I generally never try to do anything to harm the team or the brand or anything like that.”

“But we’ve won the constructors’ championship so it was down to me and Nico today. And however, they still felt they needed to make comments.”

Rosberg, who in his mirrors could see two rivals threatening to deprive him of the championship, warned the team “this is really slow”. With an abundance of optimism he suggested they “maybe invert the cars and if, by the end of the race, Lewis is still second I’ll let him by”. Unsurprisingly this did not come to pass.

Hamilton had evidently planned his defensive mode carefully, slowing Rosberg around the parts of the track where passing was impossible and drawing clear elsewhere. “Lewis was using all his skill to do it perfectly,” Rosberg conceded afterwards, “there was absolutely no way for me to manage to get by”.

“I didn’t want to be in his shoes”

The final laps were tough for Rosberg
The tension on the Mercedes pit wall ratcheted up as Vettel picked his way past the Red Bulls. Having rebuffed his race engineer, Hamilton now had the firm voice of Paddy Lowe telling him “we need you to pick up the pace, that is an instruction”.

Still Hamilton refused to relent. Now Vettel had Rosberg in his crosshairs: “I didn’t want to be in his shoes,” Vettel admitted. But the Ferrari driver’s performance advantage was already waning.

“Daniel was fairly straightforward to pass. But then when I arrived behind Max, the problem is that you have car after car after car and you begin to slide, so my tyres got worse.”

On top of that, Rosberg’s close proximity to Hamilton was actually helping him on the straight, giving him the ability to use DRS to thwart Vettel’s passing efforts. “Max didn’t have DRS, whereas at the end Nico had DRS,” said Vettel.

“The second straight was the spot I was having a look, but Nico defended well and closed the inside so I couldn’t really go anywhere. I couldn’t try something really stupid because Lewis was just ahead, so if I really dived down the inside or down the outside then I have a risk of hitting Lewis at that point.”

In the final laps Hamilton edged far enough ahead that Rosberg no longer had the benefit of DRS. Even so it took two laps for Vettel to get close enough to make a move, which Rosberg was easily able to resist.

On the final lap Rosberg was back in DRS range of Hamilton, and Vettel’s last attack was to no avail. Hamilton crept around the final sector but finally accepted the inevitable. Incredibly, his tenth victory of the year was also the one which ensured he would lose the championship to the man who followed him home.

Button bows out

Button’s final race was a disappointment
The nail-biting tension at the head of the field did not distract from a scintillating afternoon’s racing behind them. Here too the race was the usual Yas Marina stalemate with retirements and the occasional slip-up the only points of interest.

Jenson Button’s fine career came to an unfit end with suspension failure. Felipe Massa at least managed to bow out with a points haul in ninth, though the two Force Indias ahead sealed fourth in the constructors’ championship the moment the other Williams retired. The final point went to Fernando Alonso.

The Haas pair finished just outside the points, Romain Grosjean ahead of the departing Esteban Gutierrez. Kevin Magnussen, who will take Gutierrez’s place next year, retired early with steering column damage.

Toro Rosso capped a dismal weekend with a double retirement. Daniil Kvyat parked up early and Carlos Sainz Jnr’s gearbox gave up after he was assaulted from behind by Jolyon Palmer at turn 17.

Rosberg finally wins the championship

The crown passes from Hamilton to Rosberg
After a nerve-shredding 55 laps, Rosberg exploded with joy as he took the chequered flag. After two years of being beaten by Hamilton he has achieved something very few Formula One drivers have done – taken the title away from their team mate.

Rosberg became a world champion 34 years after his father accomplished the feat with Williams. Already both have been called fortunate to win their championships. And others have suggested their talents are under-appreciated.

But the new world champion is unconcerned by such suggestions. “I don’t drive for credit,” he said, “I drive to win the world championship and I have achieved that.”

“It was my childhood dream to win the world championship and that’s done and that’s what I’m excited about.”

After the race Rosberg let off some steam – and smoke

Author information

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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99 comments on “Rosberg gets his revenge despite Hamilton’s tactical slow-down”

  1. The only downside of the race was the Mercedes radio calls. I can fully understand them, but all this talk of “we let the drivers race each other” and the moment Hamilton tries to help himself by slowing down he’s told lies over the radio. I understand they were looking out for the 1-2 finish but Vettel still had 4 cars to pass and a 12-second gap to make up in less than 15 laps. It was obvious he wouldn’t be able to do that so there was no immediate threat to Hamilton. The team would have known Hamilton will be racing for his own Championship out there and to warn him before the race about giving Nico the undercut if he tried it meant his only options were to leave it until after the pitstops. They can’t really blame Hamilton as they gave him no different options to win the Championship. That’s not a complaint as they didn’t help Nico either but Hamilton knew his only real hope was a reliability issue or backing him up in the final stint so realistically what choice did he have ?

    1. I really hope nothing comes of that.

    2. +1 this was quite interesting from Horner: “We know that Toto likes to control most things in the paddock, including other teams’ drivers. I understand that Toto has suggested that Lewis followed my instruction rather than his, and he should come and drive for Red Bull.”

      Hamilton’s assessment proved all too correct that Vettel wouldn’t win the race – he couldn’t even pass Rosberg. Wolff complained that Hamilton ignored team instructions in public. Well firstly it’s FIA that makes those communications public for ‘entertainment’ reasons, and you have to question how much ‘entertainment’ fans gets from teams telling their drivers to stop trying to win a race or championship. Second those instructions should be no more than advice. The image that drivers are micromanaged and bossed is destroying the sport. Audiences are declining worldwide, the kind of attitude expressed by Wolff is a big reason why.

      1. FOM, not the FIA. Key difference. Basically ‘Bernie, not Todt’! :)

      2. Last time i checked Hamilton is employed by Mercedes. Doesn’t like how they handle the race he is free to go work for someone else, but as long as he wants to race for that team he needs to play by their rules. The question weather the call was good for F1 or not is a separate issue, and quite frankly in my opinion it is not a team’s job to make sure they make decisions that the fans like.

        1. It’s also not the job of fans to watch dull races. And they don’t, increasingly so.
          I watch Formula 1, still, because of the likes of Hamilton and Verstappen. Not to see Mercedes micromanaging their dominance, insisting on a 1-2 at the end of the season where they’ve won everything already, irrespective of the desires and battles of their drivers – you know, the human beings doing this dangerous stuff.
          If you want corporate obedience, go watch live feed of some office spaces. I’m sure it’s thrilling stuff. They may even have made a sitcom about it.

        2. Last time I checked, Mercedes are paying Hamilton to race their cars. They don’t like how he races their cars, they’re free to replace him with someone else. I’m pretty confident they won’t do that though. That’s what happens in a dynamic workspace. Opinions of how to handle things differ and conflicts will happen. Hamilton won’t abide by their rules at all times and neither will Rosberg. It’s up to them on how they wish to handle that.

          And honestly, as a racing fan, Hamilton’s decision was befitting of a driver with world championship-winning ambitions. Would’ve been weak of him, had he listened to Mercedes.

        3. @wihan
          From the post race review on sky, after Spain Lewis quit but Mercedes persuaded him to stay.

          A lot of Peacocking going on from Ferrari, redbull, Max and Lewis. Ferrari finally got a decent strategy, max showed he can do almost anything, redbull showed how quick they can react and give their drivers the best opportunities when they want to.
          Lewis can go to any team he wants and Mercedes know that. The best chance Mercedes have in 2017 is to ensure no one else has Lewis.

          A world champion doesn’t give up, Lewis faught to the end, Nico was happy just coasting and not winning. I know who’d I’d want in my team.

    3. Guess I must have missed the part where ‘slowing down’ becomes ‘racing’ … The best you can say about it was that Hamilton showed his technical mastery of the car and he clearly has a deep understanding of its strengths and limitations – he’s complained about being stuck behind Nico in the past as a result of the dirty air and he put that experience to use today.

      1. @charleski

        Guess I must have missed the part where ‘slowing down’ becomes ‘racing’

        Wouldn’t be the first, after Spain 1981.

    4. he’s told lies over the radio

      When did they lie to him?

      1. When they said vettel was a major threat and if he doesn’t pick the pace up he won’t win @keithcollantine Yes vettel could technically catch him lapping 1.3 seconds a lap faster at that stage, but he still had to catch and pass both Redbulls and Nico in 13 or 14 laps before the win was in any kind of danger. Looking at the laptimes and gaps he would have needed to pass all those without losing any time at all, so it was obvious the win wasn’t in danger at that stage. I understand they told him then so he wouldn’t slow down more, but we’d just watched 40+ laps of cars running in formation so overtakes weren’t exactly easy here. I just didn’t like the urgency and making the threat seem larger than it was. That along with the warnings before the race made it clear they didn’t actually want Hamilton to fight for the Championship. Thats not to say they didn’t want him to win it. Just they wanted to avoid any of the tactics he did decide to do and that was realistically Hamiltons only option. For a team which always says ” we let them race” I’d say well not unless you control every aspect of the race first.

        1. I disagree, in hindsight it was probably obvious that it wasn’t a true statement, but at the time Vettel was lapping faster than both Mercedes, so it wasn’t obvious that Vettel wasn’t a major threat. At one time the race commentators even suggested Vettel might actually finish the race first.

          1. @drycrust It was always obvious that Vettel wasn’t a threat to Hamilton. The suggestion that Vettel was lapping faster than Hamilton is irrelevant, as we all know (and knew then) Hamilton was driving intentionally slowly and had he found Vettel behind him would simply have driven faster.

            Toto claims after the race Hamilton was lapping 1.5s slower than they wanted him to, in other words Hamilton could have driver faster than Vettel at any time he wanted. If Mercedes knew this and still suggested to Hamilton that they thought Vettel could win the race then the implication is that the advice given to him was a lie (or at least intentionally misleading) as Tom stated above.

          2. @jerseyf1 If a Canada 1991 happened, though?

          3. @davidnotcoulthard That happened because Mansell had a commanding lead (assuming the theory that it was his fault is true), if he had driven slowly and been under more pressure he wouldn’t have made the mistake. So Hamilton was helping avoid that scenario too by keeping his rivals just behind him!

        2. Rosberg should have just left Vettel by and continued in third. Hamilton would then have to pickup his speed in order to get the win that he needs to put Rosberg under any pressure. In turn, Rosberg would pull away from the rest as well.

          Mercedes didn’t lie. Vettel simply ran out of laps and spots to put Rosberg under pressure and in turn get to Hamilton.

        3. When they said Vettel was a major threat

          I don’t agree they were lying by making this claim and there’s a clear reason why: this was exactly what Hamilton wanted. He needed Vettel to become a major threat in order for the Ferrari to overtake Rosberg. And the lap times bear out that this is exactly what was happening: from lap 38 to 45 Vettel’s progress was very rapid and Mercedes obviously couldn’t take for granted how quickly he might pass the Red Bulls.

          and if he doesn’t pick the pace up he won’t win

          Did they actually say that? I don’t remember that message.

          1. It’s just been on the news @keithcollantine and one message was “we need a 45.1, 45.1 for the win” The fact they brought the win into it just seemed a little underhand. I was looking at the times and while Vettel was charging it was obvious he would run out of laps. We’ve seen many races where drivers close the gap but can’t overtake. With Hamilton being faster in Sector 1 to avoid the DRS it was quite clear that Vettel actually had no chance of the win. I think it was the undercut warnings before the race too which while I can fully understand just felt like Mercedes wanted anything but the two guys racing, especially Hamilton as they knew with him racing would actually mean backing up Rosberg.

      2. Just goes to show how much of an amazing driver Lewis is, I mean he was toying with Nico at the end.

        He can’t have been driving that slow as Verstappen was struggling to keep up with the trio.

        Mercedes need to get a grip especially Toto, talk about kicking someone when they’re down. We all know you bend over backwards for Rosberg but try not to make it so transparent…..

    5. “Unprecedented” is the keyword here: there’s a reason for that. It’s just the poorest kind of sportsmanship. Hamilton was manipulated by Christian Horner as if he was a toddler.

      1. Wait, so you think Hamilton was playing to Horner’s script book? Give the man some credit – he used all the tools in his arsenal to try and win the championship.

        Nico could quite well have tried harder to pass him, but obviously wasn’t going to because it would put his finish at risk. You could say that his strategy was no more untoward than Rosberg’s moves in Austria & Germany or Verstappen’s ‘moving under braking’ tricks?

      2. You really think hamilton wasnt thinking of it long before horner mentioned it? Lol its also not unprecedented at all, many drivers have employed this tactic, and why is it all of a sudden unsportsmen-like when hamilton drives slow but its been fine for rosberg to completly drive within his pace for a number of races now in order to fall over the winning line? If rosberg didnt like hamiltons tactic he had every chance to actually up his own pace and try to actually go out and win the race

      3. Hamilton made choices based upon his own priorities. I don’t think it is credible to say he was doing what Christian Horner wanted. The crux of the matter is Rosberg was ahead on points at the start of the race and Hamilton was second, and the most obvious outcome of the race was Rosberg was going to win the World Driver’s Championship. Hamilton admitted that before the race started.
        Hamilton knew that if he tried anything too obvious, which he did, then it was likely his reputation would be tarnished, and that is exactly what has happened: he is seen as a sore looser.

    6. Mercedes have a PR image to maintain.

  2. Nice last picture!

    1. Not even a Rosberg fan, but that is a perfect photo!

  3. Shouldn’t this read – Mercedes got its revenge?

    Where did the clutch issues go after Nico was guaranteed the championship? Seriously… once Lewis leaves Mercedes, let’s hope they go back to the position they deserve.

    1. @freelittlebirds Mercedes getting their revenge against the driver they employ to win the championship because he won the championship for them twice?

      Surely we can all agree this makes absolutely no sense.

      Where did the clutch issues go after Nico was guaranteed the championship?

      Rosberg was guaranteed the championship when he crossed the finishing line at the end of lap 55. Beyond that point the state of his clutch didn’t matter an awful lot.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        28th November 2016, 0:18


        Sorry, I didn’t mean it literally:-) The clutch issues magically disappeared after Nico got a 33 point lead… They plagued Lewis throughout most of the season. Last 4 races, he hasn’t had any issues.

        Did Mercedes fix it? Did they finally decide to fix it once enough harm was done? It’s been awfully silent on Mercedes’ side about it. It was obvious to anyone with a heartbeat that Lewis was the one most affected by it.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          28th November 2016, 1:55

          If you really believe this, then how come the clutch issue did not ‘magically’ reappear today?

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            28th November 2016, 3:10

            @coldfly Well, it didn’t did it? It was there throughout the year and now it’s suddenly gone. Where did it go?

            Did Mercedes have no clue what was causing it? Was it so easy to resolve that they nailed it forever with none of us being the wiser? Did it resolve itself? What happened?

            Once the championship was out Lewis’ reach even with 4 P1s, it disappeared. Of course, had Nico suffered a DNF in Mexico, maybe it would have made another appearance and unresolved itself again until it was out of reach again…

          2. Extremely far-fetched. More likely:
            1. There was a clutch problem that they had not yet understood the reasons behind.
            2. By unfortunate happenchance it affected one driver more than the other.
            3. Over time they finally understood it and fixed it and were happy that a technical issue was now resolved for Mercedes GP.
            4. As it is their business to fix things all year long, they did not dwell on it, but started focusing on other pressing matters.
            End of story.

        2. Where did it disappear?
          The answer might be hidden in a newsbit a few GP’s ago: Hamilton said he spent several days working on his starts, getting to grips with the new clutch. It seems that it worked.

        3. Well, Rosberg is more technically proficient, while Hamilton is a more natural driver. That’s why Rosberg could handle clutch problems better, and fix his engine problem himself which was the same as Hamilton’s, who struggled and asked for help the team couldn’t provide.

          1. No. Nico asked for help at Silverstone and got it immediately, unlike Hamilton. Team biased?

          2. To insinuate that ROS is smarter than HAM is insulting. Both drivers had issues with the clutch, several times both MERC drivers got jumped/swamped at the start, but i would wager ROS worked on the problem a little more than HAM did or HAM possibly relied more on his engineering team to do the leg work for him than do it himself. When HAM did put the work in on the clutch, his starts improved how or what the bottom line was in relation to the clutch i don’t think has been made public.

        4. Lewis and one of the engineers fixed it hy modifying the clutch paddle before austin. They put a wedge on the back it to make the release gradual.. Apparently Nico has thicker fingers so he had a better release of the paddle.

  4. I am slightly disgusted at some of these calls at Mercedes. Good that Toto understood this because… I mean… What else could Lewis do? I have some possibilities that I thought during the race:
    1. Brake test Nico into one of the heavy braking zones.. (Unsportsmanslike behavior though)
    2. Slow Nico down at the point of the pitstops, therefore risking an undercut by one of the other cars…(Though I think Mercedes would have covered this as usual)
    3. Slow down Nico by battling him and winning it. (Extremely risky and unlikely for it to slow him down)
    4. Anticipating Nico’s stop and double stacking with him being first. (LOL This would have been epic and definitely unsportsmanship but extremely hard to do)
    5. What he did today.

    With what we saw, I am starting to think something fishy there… Who thought that Vettel could have won this race? If somehow he overtook Nico, Lewis would have just subtracted 1-2 secs off his pace and be in normal mode. Plus, as he said: Vettel would need 1.1 seconds at least, in terms of delta time to overtake, and to note that his tyres were already falling off, highly doubt that would have been possible.

    1. Exactly, the calls to hamilton was never about the race win being at risk, anyone is anyone knows Hamilton would have bolted had vettel past rosberg, the ‘orders’ where about protecting Rosberg, its so transparent its a little sickening. I cant imagine how Hamilton must feel in that team now knowing this, being threatend by his own bosses with the undercut should he try an slow rosberg up, it gives greater weight to his comments about telling the public of what went on in that team once he retires.

    2. +1 man, I’m not a Lewis fan, not even a Rosberg fan but Lewis earned his money today. He fought all the way to the end and I gained so much respect for his fight. I also gained a ton of respect from Rosberg. He did what he had to do the last few weeks to close this deal out. If I was Toto I’d be thrilled.His number 1 ace fought like a lion and his number 2 drove beautifully. Such a strong lineup even with that car.

    3. He could be an honorable sportsman, though I understand that would be out of character. He did insist all week that we would never do what he actually did from lap one, though.

      1. Well James Coulee, last time I checked, Lewis is an F1 driver, not a UN member.

      2. This will be my last response to you. Ive been posting on here for about a year and you are by far the most uneducated poster I’ve seen.

      3. @jamescoulee, And people think I’m an old phart living in the past, get real, this is not anymore a gentlemans sport, it is big business with mega-bucks at stake.

    4. Lewis couldn’t have upped his pace after Seb got past Nico as he also needed Max to get past. If Lewis had increased his pace to keep Seb behind, then Nico would also have increased his pace and therefore (probably) extended his lead over Max and consolidated his 3rd place.

      Lewis would have had to continue to back up Nico into Max and therefore put his race lead/win in jeopardy from Seb – it was that concern IMO that gave way to the messages we heard from the team.

  5. Willem Cecchi (@)
    28th November 2016, 0:05

    Will Rosberg take number 1?

    1. He’s earned it. For throwing Ecclestone in the air.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        28th November 2016, 1:58

        And lost it for not dropping him (head first).

      2. I liked Bernie’s comment to Nico, “Job done”.

  6. Interesting Wolff remark: “Maybe we want to give them even more freedom in racing each other, or we could to go the more harsh side if we feel the values were not respected.”

    1. It’s like he’s running a kindergarten. It does nothing good for the image of the sport. It’s utterly ludicrous in fact. The race was tense and fascinating. Both Mercedes racing more or less flat out and winning comfortably would have been the worst possible finale for anyone watching. Do Todt/Mercedes really not care about Formula 1’s popularity? Insisting that the drivers obey them absolutely ruins the public’s sense that a competition is taken place between the drivers on track, not remotely by team managers and data crunchers. Hopefully Ross Brawn can instill some sense into them and get people like Todt to see outside their corporate bubble.

      1. *Toto Wolff in fact…

        1. Well judging from Brawn’s years in Ferrari, if he was still in charge we would have Hamilton win 20 races this year…

          1. It’s a fair comment in terms of the past, but the task now would be entirely different. F1 needs a smart insider who loves the actual racing and can work with all the teams to improve the sport’s appeal. That should be Todt of course…

  7. All Toto and Mercedes cared about today was the best possible result for the team, which all they ever care about. With the championship standings being what they were before everybody came here, this meant Lewis winning the title was directly contradicting Mercedes’ goal.

    Toto and Paddy urged on Lewis towards the end of the race because they saw the 1-2 endagered, not because they didn’t want Lewis to have a shot at this title.

  8. I don’t know why Red Bull didn’t pit one or both of their drivers immediately after seeing Vettel was quick, they would have had some catching up to do but Verstappen at least was lightning quick as we saw in his recovery, would have ended up in the same position at worst I reckon.

    I wonder what’s up with Ricciardo, it’s going to be very exciting next year between the two Red Bull drivers. I liked Hulkenberg’s defending on Perez and wise of Perez to think better of bothering to pressing the attack after a few attempts.

    Good result from HAAS being just outside the points again, they’ve pretty consistently found themselves around that position this year, hope they can improve next year.

    And what on Earth happened to Palmer? Absolutely terrible race from him. Up in the points pretty early on then down in 17th a dozen laps later. Wonder if it was something mechanical or just the strategy not paying off at all.

    And shame about Button, but good to see some potential kerbing solution for track limit cutting, a good chance at a destroyed car like that would end the practice pretty quick I reckon, although I wonder how safe those kerbs were with regards to launching.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      28th November 2016, 2:00

      RBR needed RIC to hold up VET to promote VES to 4th in the WDC standings.
      That clearly didn’t work as VET was way too fast for RIC (and VES)

      1. @coldfly, more a case of Ferrari having better tyre strategy for once imo.

        1. Except for Kimi. Again.
          He was never going to beat the undercut. Again again.

  9. Did I miss it or did Hamilton not even shake Rosberg’s hand after the race? I know it must hurt but still, congratulate the winner!

    1. He did during the celebrations and twice on the podium.

  10. german bosses obviously wanted a german to WIN !!!!!

    1. An also Monagesque-Finnish driver who mainly chose German because it worked better for his career (which is not to say Nico isn’t German at all – besides, I heard he doesn’t speak good Finnish)……

      And after HAM got to win 2 titles in a row. (why would they even bother wih HAM – a ROS-HUL combo would ensure a German champion)

  11. No matter how fast Hamilton is on track and how his fans defend his tactics this time or every act he did in the past. I don’t like him only because he always show no respect to other drivers, journalists, or even his own team, especially when he lose. To me its the basic thing of being a person, before being a driver.

  12. Let’s be honest here history repeats its self. The Rosbergs do it again and so similar. Daddy Keke was not a great driver. He won because all the other winning cars broke down. Nico won due to Lewis having reliability issues with the car. Nico is not a better driver then Lewis. Shows you that with the right car almost anyone could win.

    As for Lewis driving today he was too nice and should have gone slower earlier.

    1. The Blade Runner (@)
      28th November 2016, 9:48

      If it was solely about who is the best driver then Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel would be fighting it out each year with Verstappen about to get in the mix!

      The car is obviously a huge factor and I guess you could argue that Rosberg, who has been part of Mercedes’ F1 project since the beginning, gets the reward he deserves. Or he has been lucky, it depends on your viewpoint!

      Given the dominance of the Mercedes car in recent years, I think any driver could count themselves as lucky if that was their weekend ride, Hamilton included.

  13. Did anyone catch what Tot said to channel 4 and sky. Not an exact quote but along the lines of “Lewis took the advice from Christian Horner maybe he should go drive for him”

    1. Would be great to see that clip. I think Toto needs to get his head checked…. Mercedes has already wrapped up the WCC, and the drivers should be fit to ‘race each other’ as Mercedes keeps claiming.

    2. Yeah, you could almost see the immediate regret in his face as he said that, and rightly so, given the Redbull is expected to be the car to beat in this new era of Aero, and given that Hamilton is the most marketable driver in the sport, it was at very least a very naive moment from Wolff.

      1. Redbull don’t want or need him.

        1. Not that you actually know what Redbull want, but you miss the point regardless.

  14. I suppose if Rosberg had done a mad dive on Lewis to try to and pass him and had punted him off the track in the process everyone would be saying he cheated too?

    I suspect he would have if Vettel and Vestappen had gotten too close for comfort – he had to option to press on and attest the pass but was cool enough to hold station and win the WDC. Darn good driving considering the pressure he was under.

    1. Toto and Lauda would have almost certainly blamed Hamilton had that happened, somehow I don’t think losing a 1-2 would have been so disastrous had that happened…..

    2. I agree. Of all Rosberg’s drives this year, what he managed to do in AD in the circumstances was very impressive. It was heart in the mouth watching at moments, so hats off to him for dealing with it all: the slow pit stop, the pass on Max (of all people) and keeping calm enough in those closing stages not to make a mistake. I can imagine if their positions were reversed, there would have been a banzai move and a crash no doubt. Like everyone, Lewis under pressure will behave and drive erratically. Fortunately for him he has had zero pressure in these last four races. That was plain to see in his interviews over the last few races. It was the complete opposite for Nico. The fact he came through that without making any mistakes makes him more than a ‘worthy’ WDC in my book.

  15. Mercedes need to get over themselves. Lewis and Rosberg made that race, if lewis had of listened to the team, we all would of fallen asleep half way through. Awesome driving by both drivers

  16. Hey Lewis, I guess your god didn’t think you deserved this year’s title.

    1. @Zim You do realise that for a person of faith, those words are a comfort. Which I think is the opposite of your intention here.

      1. @psynrg That or Zim was told by some God that Lewis suscribed to successful theology.

        1. @davidnotcoulthard Indeed. Probably Zala Bim, the other one and only god.

  17. I think a point has been repeatedly missed about the assessment of Hamilton’s tactics : it is that the exact scenario (H slowing down and endangering Mercedes’ 1-2) must have been discussed extensively between team and drivers before the race, and that it is pretty sure that H had somehow vowed not to do it. This was for instance clear from Niki Lauda pre-race interview on C4. When asked what Mercedes would do in such a case, he answered something like “Lewis won’t do that. Period.” It made him look like such a fool that in the post-race interview he tried a ridiculous defense of “maybe there was a problem on Lewis’ car”, which was quickly debunked by Coulthard & co, and he then had to concede that Lewis was in the wrong.

    So Hamilton told everybody, his team included, that he wouldn’t do such a thing. Either he lied, either he changed his mind. I’d rather think that he intended to do it all the time, but either wanted to play mind games with Rosberg, either wanted to eschew pre-race team orders.

    Backing up his team mate was absolutely within the rules. Not the most classy thing to do, but I am perfectly OK with that. Then he told the press before the race that he wouldn’t do it. He is under no contract to tell the truth to the media all the time. As a fan I am a bit disappointed with it, but I can understand it. Telling lies to his team is another matter. And in the case he was sincere before the race, but changed his mind during the race, then he should have abided when the order came from the team. All in all, he caused a severe breach of confidence between him and his team. That doesn’t rate highly with me.

    So I lost a bit of respect for Hamilton. I am happy that Rosberg won the championship. On the other hand, I am very happy Hamilton did what he did, it gave us a hell of a race and a hell of a controversy.

    1. Hamilton didnt lie. He never once said that he would not back up Nico… He said it was impractical to do it. Does that mean he wont do it? And from a competition point of view why would you show your hand to your rival?

    2. Why shouldn’t he lie to his team when his team would have worked against him if he told them the truth?
      They are at fault for not respecting their own policies when a driver drives for himself.
      They have a policy to pit the first driver on the road but the moment he doesn’t do exactly what they want they threaten him and screw his strategy to get back at him.
      Their control behaviour is annoying.

      Who wouldn’t lie like that?

  18. I liked Vettel’s comments in the post race conference, especially where he said that if it wasn’t for Hamilton being so slow, Nico wouldn’t have had the tow on the straights which was preventing him from passing. I strongly suspect that Vettel was just commenting in order to temper Hamilton’s overt suggestions that he was the deserving champion (as clearly if Ham had been further up the road, Ros would have been as well), but it was definitely a ‘lol’ moment as Ham looked a little shocked at the possibility his tactics may not have been so clever after all!

    1. And if Hamilton hadn’t slowed Rosberg down, do you think Vettel would of been anywhere near Rosberg? Of course not. The Mercedes cars could of finished that race 30+ seconds up the road, and what a boring race that would of been.

      1. Did you even read my comment?

    2. Which of course is absolute nonsense because if Hamilton upped his pace significantly to clear Rosberg, Rosberg would have upped his pace also and Vettel would have never been in the frame. Hamilton going slow was his only option for having a chance at the title.

      1. Yes, I did acknowledge that in my comment. But still, it probably wasn’t ideal for Ham having Rosberg in the DRS zone on those last two laps, so maybe he did back up a bit too much.

  19. No quite the same situation, but Lewis didn’t like it when Alonso slowed him down in the pitlane that time.

  20. I think Toto and co should wake up this morning, take a look at what happened and and truly thank Lewis for turning what could have been a boring procession into a fascinating, safe and legal game of 200mph chess. M-B haven’t had this level of TV coverage and post race discussion all season.

    Rosberg did well in this race to come out champion, well done to him for that, but he isn’t the faster driver, no way.

  21. He should have slowed down from Austin, more chances at least

  22. Well, for what it’s worth, my view is that the incident showed the difference between the two drivers.

    If the roles were reversed (Hamilton leading the championship but behind Rosbeg in the race) Hamilton would have tried to pass Rosberg, safe in the knowledge that if they collided, Hamiltonwould be champion.

    If Rosberg couldn’t pass Hamilton even when the latter is driving “too slowly” it tarnishes his championship in my eyes.

  23. Pheeeeew, thank God!! It would have been a shame to see HAM WDC in 2016 after winning Mexico and Monaco in that manner. Funny how he kept saying Nico was lucky to lead the champ because he had many problems, but he forgot to say about the luck he had in Monaco and Mexico… luck that guaranteed him the luck to take the fight until the last race. Lots of people started to hate MSchumacher for stuff like Austria 2002 alone many years after that race… although he dominated Barrichello in a manner that would have allowed him to DNF in that race while BAR win it… and still BAR did not have a chance to fight MSchumacher for the champ. But when both drivers finish so close, telling 1 driver to move aside and blow away his chances to win the champ just to let the team take 1 pathetic win and also increase the other driver the chances of winning the WDC… is anything but fair. What happened in Mexico is more than ridiculous, cutting the track like that without a penalty = the stewards are more than friends!!! Last thing, if we take for good ROS had to let HAM pass in Monaco just for the sake of taking the win for the team… then why didn’t Mercedes ask HAM to move aside and let ROS pass since he was lapping too slow and the victory wasn’t sure anymore after the VET equiped the UltraSofts?!?!?

  24. How DARE Lewis do what his has in his arsenal to win a title!
    One article I read today was Lewis even ‘sabotaged’ the race, I thought he held up the pack, not cut his brake cable! (do they even have brake cable now :)
    I am not one usually to jump to Hamilton’s defence but come on, he doesn’t care about a race but winning a title, I actually gained a fair bit of respect for Lewis in the way he held himself yesterday, yes he defied team orders, but all the greats did.. Multi 21 rings a bell :)

  25. Will Hamilton quit Merc? Teds notebook on Sky said paddock rumour is he quit after Spain so Merc signed a 2 not 1 year contract with Merc and thats why Wherlein did the teat after Spain. The relationship wi5h Merc must be worse after yesterday.

    Personal view, nothing wrong with what Hamilton did, team should not have tried to stop him. The radio messages were pure entertainment though. If the radio ban was still in force they could not have told him to speed up as would be driver coaching? They were giving specific lap time targets. Nico said afterwards he did not have an issue but then he had just won the title.

  26. I cant believe there are people out there who are blaming Hamilton for trying to win the championship… The guy did nothing wrong.. if Rosberg thought he was in danger he should have tried to overtake hamilton.. which he clearly dint want to try…

    similarly it’s rubbish for some hamilton fans to suggest Rosberg doesnt derserve the title … Hamilton did have bad luck which cost him the title probably but it was nt like Rosberg or the team deliberately sabotaged Hamilton’s car…. These kind of things happen all the time… Hamilton is definitely the quicker of the two and will come out on top more often than not.. But you got to admire Rosberg for keeping his spirit up after losing to hamilton 2 years in a row .. He drove well most of the year and grabbed his opportunities with both hands when presented… well done and a fully deserved championship as well…

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