Nico Rosberg clinches maiden Formula One title despite Hamilton's wins in Abu Dhabi

Updated On : 28 Nov , 2016 , 11:46 AM
Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg - File Photo
Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg - File Photo
New Delhi:

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg overcame a spirited challenge from his fellow team mate Lewis Hamilton to clinch his maiden world title on Sunday after finishing second in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix despite Lewis Hamilton ignoring team orders in his quest to foil the German.

The 31-year-old Rosberg concluded the longest season in the sport's history with a nail-biting second place under intense pressure after leader and ultimate race winner Hamilton had slowed the field to create a difficult finish.

Hamilton reeled off his 10th win of the season - the most by any driver not to win the title - and the 53rd of his career, but his gamesmanship upset his team and his team-mate in the closing laps.

His final lap was nine seconds slower than the lap that carried him to pole and was clearly designed to push Rosberg into a vulnerable position as Sebastian Vettel closed in in his Ferrari.

Hamilton ignored two instructions from the team toincrease his speed at the front, but was unable to create a situation in which Rosberg could be attacked and passed.

It was Rosberg's triumph, in the end, as his wife Vivian made clear when she screeched her congratulations on the team radio. "We did it, we did it!" "Yippppeee!" Rosberg replied.

Rosberg joined an exclusive club by becoming only the second son of a former champion to take the title, his father Keke having won the championship 34 years ago with the Williams team.

Briton Damon Hill did the same when he won the title with Williams, following his father Graham's achievements, in 1996.

He also became Germany's third champion. The tension was palpable as they climbed from their cars to go to the podium after the race in which Vettel finished third for Ferrari ahead of Dutchman Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Rosberg celebrated by giving F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone a massive bear hug, lifting the diminutive octogenarian high into the air, as Hamilton stared glumly at the floor.

Rosberg reliving the final tense laps, said: "With the guys (Vettel and Verstappen) coming up behind me the end was not the most enjoyable.

"I'm very proud to have done the same feat as my Dad achieved."

On the podium Hamilton's good grace returned and he gave his former teenage go-carting companion a handshake and a hug."Big congratulations to Nico, good job man," said Hamilton.

As the sun descended at the end of a hot, dry and dusty day at the Yas Marina circuit, Hamilton made a perfect start from his 61st pole position to lead away from Rosberg.

In a frantic opening lap, Verstappen spun after touching the Force India car of German Nico Hulkenberg, dropping him to 17th as he rejoined and advanced through the pack.

First Published : Monday, November 28, 2016 11:08 AM
Download the News Nation Mobile App and stay connected with top stories from India and around the world. Available on Android and iOS.