F1 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result: Hamilton wins race as Rosberg takes title

PUBLISHED: 14:43 27 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:26 02 December 2016

Lewis Hamilton shakes Nico Rosberg's hand on the podium after winning the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix [Picture: Sean Ramsell]

Lewis Hamilton shakes Nico Rosberg's hand on the podium after winning the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix [Picture: Sean Ramsell]

SEAN RAMSELL

Lewis Hamilton won a thrilling 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but couldn't stop Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg taking the drivers' championship for the first time following a titanic tussle.

Lewis Hamilton driving around the Yas Marina Circuit at the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz / Daimler AG]Lewis Hamilton driving around the Yas Marina Circuit at the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz / Daimler AG]

The 31-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver from Hertfordshire took the chequered flag at the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit today (Sunday) after starting from pole position for his 10th win of the season and fourth victory in a row.

However, title rival Rosberg did just enough to secure the drivers’ crown, finishing second as the Silver Arrows completed another podium 1-2.

The German Silver Arrows star started the season finale 12 points clear of Stevenage-born Hamilton.

Regardless of Hamilton’s finishing position, Rosberg knew a top three finish would guarantee him the world title.

Watched by his mum and singer Rita Ora, three-time world champion Hamilton did all he could in the Duel in the Desert, controlling the pace from the front to take his 53rd F1 career victory.

He backed the field up in the closing laps to put pressure on second-placed Rosberg in the title-deciding race, with Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel in hot pursuit.

In the post-race interviews Hamilton said: “I did everything I could within fair reason.”

Ferrari driver Vettel passed Verstappen’s Red Bull for third place but was unable to overtake Robserg in the final laps.

Rosberg fended off Vettel in a nerve-racking finish to hold on to second place, and to take the 2016 world title – following in his father’s footsteps.

Afterwards a tearful Rosberg admitted it was a tough race in the final laps.

Rosberg said: “That was not the most enjoyable race I’ve had!

“I’m glad it’s over and am absolutely ecstatic. The win was for my wife.”

Speaking on the podium, Nico added: “I want to say congrats to Lewis for his efforts.

“It’s always tough to beat you and you were fast all year as always.”

Race winner Hamilton said: “I just want to say thanks to the team and my family.

“And congratulations to Nico – the new world champion.”

Mercedes director Paddy Lowe said: “That’s was nerve-wracking on the pit wall.

“Those last few laps with all four of them together felt like an eternity.”

Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, said: “We don’t get involved with instructions unless the race win is in jeopardy. We felt it was today, so we did.”

Vettel eventually crossed the line third, with Verstappen fourth in the provisional Abu Dhabi Grand Prix results.

Vettel said: “It was tough out there. I didn’t want to be in Nico’s shoes.

“I was trying to get close and get past both of them”

Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth in the second Red Bull.

Although Lewis Hamilton left himself just too much to do going into the final Grand Prix of the season, bookies have already made him the favourite to win next year’s title.

William Hill make him 6/4 ahead of the current World Champion Rosberg, who is 11/4.

Red Bull are expected to be back in contention and Ricciardo and Verstappen are 4/1 and 9/2 respectively.

Lewis Hamilton on the podium after winning the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix [Picture: Sean Ramsell]Lewis Hamilton on the podium after winning the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix [Picture: Sean Ramsell]

“Lewis needs to put this loss behind him and if he can, we make him the favourite to regain his title,” said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.

While rivals Rosberg and Hamilton will be back on the grid next season, Formula One waved goodbye to Jenson Button.

The former world champion’s final grand prix ended after just 12 laps when the right-front suspension failed on his McLaren.

It may have brought the curtain down a little early on an illustrious 17-season, 305-race Formula 1 career, but it did little to dampen his spirits after an emotional weekend filled with friends, family and great memories.

After his DNF, Button said: “A suspension component failed on the car – which very rarely happens to us.

“I had a failure on the right-front – and I’m just glad I was able to figure it out before I hit the brakes [for Turn 11].

The Mercedes team celebrate Lewis Hamilton's 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix victory and Nico Rosberg's world championship success [Picture: Sean Ramsell]The Mercedes team celebrate Lewis Hamilton's 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix victory and Nico Rosberg's world championship success [Picture: Sean Ramsell]

“It’s always been a massive strength of our team that components so rarely fail, but today – of all days – something did, which is just unlucky.

“Nonetheless, I enjoyed today massively.

“My race was short, but I loved everything else. I was really emotional before I got in the car – it was such a special atmosphere to have the whole team and all my friends and family cheer me on my way into the garage.”

He added: “I’m very content with all I’ve achieved in my career. Now, it’s done. I live in the moment, though, and tonight’s going to be a helluva lot of fun!”

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel on the podium after the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix [Picture: Sean Ramsell]Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel on the podium after the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix [Picture: Sean Ramsell]

Fernando Alonso finished the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 10th position, earning McLaren-Honda one final point in the 2017 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and consolidating the team’s sixth position in the constructors’ standings.

With a fresh set of Primes fitted for the final stint, Alonso quickly began to carve into the gap ahead of him, taking between one and two seconds per lap from the cars immediately in front.

However, despite shaving 15 seconds off Felipe Massa’s advantage over him, the Spaniard couldn’t manage to get past the Brazilian, finishing 10th at the chequer.

Alonso said: “The race was good; fun, but difficult as well.

“There wasn’t really much I could do against the Force Indias and the Williams, but I fought until the last lap and got quite close, so I’m happy with the point we scored today, and pleased that we secured our positions in the constructors’ and drivers’ championships.

“Overall, this season has been positive: we’ve shown big progress compared to 2015, but we want to win the world championship – and there’s still a long way to go before we can achieve that.

“Still, we have a long winter ahead of us, and we’ll make a huge effort in order to arrive in Australia with a more competitive package.”

Alonso added: “It’s a shame that Jenson’s final race came to an early end, but he’ll still be around next year, and he’ll be a huge asset for us in his new role.

“Finally, I’m very happy for Nico [Rosberg]. He’s had a fantastic season and he deserved to be champion.

He always believed in his possibilities and he managed his advantage perfectly. Both he and Lewis did a great job but it was time for Nico to win this year, as Lewis has three titles already!”

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