F1 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result: Hamilton finishes second
PUBLISHED: 14:44 29 November 2015 | UPDATED: 19:18 29 November 2015
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second place on the podium as Mercedes colleague Nico Rosberg won the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The 30-year-old Mercedes driver from Hertfordshire crossed the line second in the season-concluding F1 race of the season at the Yas Marina circuit.
German Silver Arrows star Rosberg, who started on pole, took the chequered flag with a dominant drive to make it three grand prix wins in a row and six for 2015.
It was also his 14th F1 career victory.
Race winner Rosberg said: “I’m excited about how the end of the season went.
“Next year can come any moment – it can start tomorrow!”
Three-time world champion Hamilton was 8.2 seconds behind at the finish to complete a 12th Mercedes one-two of the season.
Hamilton also claimed the fastest lap of the race on lap 44.
Speaking on the podium to David Coulthard, Hamilton said: “I’m happy the season is over so we can all enjoy it.
“We’ve shown Mercedes is the best team in the world.”
Kimi Raikkonen was third in the provisional race results today (Sunday) 19.4 seconds adrift with Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel just off the podium in fourth place.
Then came the Force India of Sergio Perez with Daniel Ricciardo sixth for Red Bull in the day-night race.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was seventh, Williams driver Felipe Massa eighth and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean ninth.
Daniil Kvyat completed the top 10 for Red Bull.
As a result of today’s podium double, the Mercedes team finished with 703 points in the constructors’ championship – two more than last year when double points were up for grabs in the F1 finale in Abu Dhabi.
Ferrari were second in the championship on 428 points.
Hamilton pushed Rosberg hard to make an offset strategy work, but eventually came home in P2, as Mercedes claimed a record-breaking 12th 1-2 of the season.
The Stevenage-born driver said: “That was a very difficult race. My tyres were done at the end of the first stint sitting behind Nico.
“The second stint was very good – but I don’t really know what happened strategy-wise at the end.
“I haven’t finished the season as strongly as I started it, but what an incredible year it’s been.”
He still finished a spectacular 2015 season with 381 World Drivers’ Championship points, with Rosberg runner-up on 322.
“This team has done a remarkable job, so a big thank you to everyone back at the factories,” said Hamilton.
“I wouldn’t be standing here as world champion without them.
“I’ll go away now for the winter aiming to come back stronger, fitter and straight on top of our new car for 2016.”
Rosberg, on the other hand, finished the season in style with a hat-trick of victories.
He said: “This is the perfect ending to the season for me – something I hoped for so much after a tough year.
“To finish with six poles and three wins in a row is awesome.
“I am so happy that I found some performance at the end of the season.
“I also made my peace with this track after the toughest moment of my career here last year, which is a nice feeling.
“Today was really a perfect race. The start, the pit-stops and the tyre management were all really good and I felt like I had it all under control.”
As the curtain fell on the 2015 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, McLaren-Honda endured some dramatic moments en route to 12th and 17th places respectively.
Fernando Alonso’s hopes of delivering a strong finale were dashed within moments of the start as three cars concertina-ed into the braking zone at Turn One, and he clattered into Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus.
The contact broke Fernando’s front wing, prompted an emergency pit-stop, incurred a drive-through penalty, and dropped him to the very tail of the field.
From there, he had a lonely race, his sole highlight coming when he fitted a set of Supersofts and attempted to set the race’s fastest laps in the closing minutes.
The Spaniard eventually finished 17th after starting 16th on the grid.
Jenson Button’s race was more eventful yet. From 12th, he remained on the fringes of the top 10 until his first pit-stop, on lap eight.
As he turned into his box, he was swiped by Valterri Bottas’s Williams, which had been released into his path.
The contact damaged Jenson’s rear wing, and shook up his mechanics, who were sitting in the debris path of the accident at the time.
Despite losing the benefits of the DRS train that he’d been chasing, Jenson kept pushing, making the most of a car he declared “the best it’s been all season”.
A firm overtake of Marcus Ericsson, and a robust defence against Bottas in the closing laps, underlined both Jenson’s and the car’s improved competitiveness, and, while he may not have graced the points-scoring positions, his was a race of grit, skill and determination.
Button said: “That was probably my best race of the year.
“At my first pit-stop, I saw that Valtteri was going to get released – which his team shouldn’t really have done, as I was pulling into the pit-box – and I braced myself for the hit.
“It disrupted my stop and unsettled the boys quite a bit – the worst outcome for me was that I fell out of the DRS zone I’d been chasing to stay within all race.
“That has been our game-plan all year, and I lost time because of that.”
The 2009 F1 world champion added: “I’m happy with all we did today.
“I had to save fuel for the whole race, which hurt us and made things difficult, but I was still having fun out there.
“You wouldn’t think I’d have been able to keep a Williams-Mercedes behind for so long in the closing laps, because it was so much quicker in a straight line, but we could.
“That was a surprise, but a real positive to take away from today.
“I’m already looking forward to next year – we just need to keep pushing.”
Eric Boullier, McLaren’s racing director, said: “Today was a frustrating and exhausting race, fittingly bringing to an end an exhausting and frustrating season.
“Following yesterday’s qualifying performance, in which Jenson had bagged P12 and Fernando P17 [net P16], no progress was made this afternoon in terms of points-scoring potential, since our two drivers ended up 12th [Jenson] and 17th [Fernando].
“Neither man had a trouble-free run to his finishing position, Jenson suffering rear-wing endplate damage as a consequence of Valtteri’s unsafe release at the hands of the Williams pit-crew, and Fernando being lumbered with a drive-through penalty after having skirmished with Pastor [Maldonado] in a manner that we regarded as innocuous enough.
“Having said all that, there are reasons to be cheerful, if humble, not least because our corner speeds here have been more than respectable all weekend.
“Indeed, over the last five laps of today’s race, we switched Fernando’s settings to ‘full deployment’, not only so as to allow him to have a bit of on-track fun – to which enjoyment he’s been something of a stranger in recent weeks and months – but also so as to find out just how well our car would perform in that performance configuration.
“The results were more than somewhat encouraging. He carved his fastest lap on the race’s 52nd tour – 1m 44.796s – and only two drivers bettered that: Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“So we’re getting there; plainly, we are.”
Boullier added: “To sum up, then, no, we haven’t had a great season. No, we can’t claim to have enjoyed every minute of it.
“No, we know it’s been tough for our drivers, our staff, our sponsor-partners and our fans. But, indubitably, yes, we have continued and we will continue to work as hard as is humanly possible to make up the performance deficit to our rivals.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.