Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2015

Rosberg wins Abu Dhabi finale

2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix summary

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Nico Rosberg rounded out the 2015 Formula 1 season in winning style, securing his third successive victory under the lights at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton could not find a way past his Mercedes team mate and was forced to settle for second for the third race in a row, while Kimi Raikkonen secured fourth place in the drivers’ championship by taking the final step on the podium.

Sebastian Vettel recovered from 15th on the grid to finish fourth, with Force India achieving a strong finish to their season with fifth and seventh for Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg respectively.

As the five lights extinguished for the final time in 2015, it was Rosberg who streaked away into the lead from pole position, while Hamilton came under immediate pressure from Raikkonen’s Ferrari for second but was able to hold his position into the first corner.

Pastor Maldonado’s incident-filled season ended at turn one when he was speared by Fernando Alonso after the McLaren driver made contact with Felipe Nasr’s Sauber into the braking zone. The McLaren was able to continue, but Alonso was soon punished with a drive-through penalty for his role in the collision.

There was plenty of action in the opening laps, with Carlos Sainz, Vettel and Felipe Massa all making aggressive moves to advance up the order. Out front, Rosberg led the opening laps, with Hamilton, Raikkonen and the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg behind.

It did not take long for the first round of pit stops to begin, with the entire field opting for Soft compound tyres. Valtteri Bottas was one of the first to stop, but he was released into the path of Jenson Button’s McLaren, with the resulting contact causing considerable damage to the Williams’s front wing, forcing him to stop again the next lap and earning a five-second time penalty from the stewards.

After starting towards the back of the field, Sebastian Vettel used a long first stint of 23 laps on the Soft tyre to leap-frog up the field to sixth place by the mid stage of the race. Max Verstappen benefited from team mate Carlos Sainz Jr letting him past to maximise his strategy, but a major lock up under braking for Turn Eight left Verstappen with severe flat spots on both front tyres and forcing an unscheduled stop for new rubber.

Rosberg had been managing a comfortable gap to Hamilton, but the world champion begin to gradually eat away the margin to his team mate around Lap 30 as the second round of stops loomed. Rosberg was the first of the Mercedes to box, with Hamilton opting to try and stretch his tyres far longer than his team mate in a bid to earn himself a strategic edge in the final third of the race.

Hamilton eventually pitted for the second time on Lap 42, rejoining the circuit with a 13 second gap to Rosberg with just 13 laps in which to catch and pass him team mate for the win. The world champion began to take seconds out of his team mate’s lead, but once the Soft Pirelli tyres had given up their best, Hamilton was unable to get within striking distance of Rosberg’s Silver Arrow.

Rosberg cruised home to his first win in Abu Dhabi and his third successive victory. Hamilton crossed the line eight seconds adrift of his team mate, with Kimi Raikkonen taking the final podium place for Ferrari almost 20 seconds behind the winning Mercedes.

Sebastian Vettel took fourth after a strong recovery drive, followed by the Force India of Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull and Nico Hulkenberg in the sister Force India.

Felipe Massa took eighth, Romain Grosjean took ninth in his final race for Lotus and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the points in tenth. Max Verstappen dropped from 12th on the track to 16th after two post-race penalties for exceeding track limits and ignoring blue flags.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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51 comments on “Rosberg wins Abu Dhabi finale”

  1. Impossible to follow his gust of wind.

    1. :-). Nico has his gusts of wind on track, Hamilton’s seem to come during the press conferences & interviews.

  2. This is what happens when a moaning driver impede his engineers doing their job.

    1. I take it you didn’t listern to the radio? The strategy was all down to the team including stopping out a lot longer. Show me the proof of what you say?

    2. Yep Exactly. It was the end of theyear nothing for Mercedes to lose. Better that they teach Lewis that he doesn’t know best and not to complain if he doesn’t have an alternative and just wants to moan. They specifically asked him if he wanted to go onto the super soft when he pitted and he just didn’t reply. Then he starts saying he can finish the race on his tyres………Then he blames the team for pulling him in too late??? Lol classic HAMILTON, its not him its the car/team/conspiracy etc. Lol’d at them telling him to stop being naughty with engine modes at the end of the race, & at them telling Nico to turn his engine up when Hamilton wouldn’t turn his engine down after multiple requsts. :-)

  3. This farce of a race reminded me of the old cheating Ferrari days. It was quite disgusting and obvious what Mercedes did, they wanted to stop any chance of a on track battle. The strategy was so stupid I can’t believe the media can’t bring it up. Complete farce and sick of hearing Toto’s bare faced lies.

    1. What? Hamilton moaned so much about strategies that the team finally let him have his way. It turns out he had not much planned besides that, given his indecision about which tyre to use, when to pit, and even considering for a while to try to race to the end.

      1. What are you onabout

        lewis said he didnt understand why the didnt pit him straight after nico pitted.he also said the tyre choice was mercs decision.

        Please explain yourself

        1. Neil, have a look at this article…Wolff clearly states that it was LH and his side of garage deciding the strategy and they messed it up.

          1. They don’t have side of the garage they have the same strategist it was a complete mess up end off. The second they didn’t pit him I knew it was over they were trying to avoid a on track battle it’s so obvious.

          2. hahaha conspiracy theorists. Here’s the reality, that’s what happens when Hamilton tries an alternate strategy. ‘These tyres still feel good’ when he was lapping almost 1.5 seconds slower than ROS with over 15 laps to go and a gap of about 11 seconds back to ROS. No wonder the team think they know better on strategy. He could have helped himself by actually telling the team to fit super softs for the last stint too, they specifically asked him which tyre he wanted and he just didn’t reply. Better to have an excuse after the race eh? :-)

          3. But what you have to remember EF1, is that Hamilton is infallible; he never makes mistakes. So when his team, with their computers, their massive databanks, and their team of strategy experts pick the best possible strategy for both him and the team, they are automatically wrong, because they are not called Lewis Hamilton. For when Lewis speaketh, thou must listen and forthwith be truly enlightened :)

  4. Rosberg finishes the season 58 points behind Hamilton. Last season this gap was 42 points (assuming Abu Dhabi to be normal points race). Although the gap is higher, I think Rosberg has done better this season. Hamilton had a lot of bad luck last year (more than Rosberg). This year, Hamilton faced a mechanical failure just once in Singapore (lost 12 points). Whereas Rosberg lost 15 points at Monza and at least 18 points at Russia. Taking these two out of the equation, Hamilton would have won by 37 points.

    While Hamilton may have got more poles and race wins this season, Rosberg seemed more assured and was able to strong together more weekends together than in 2014. Spain, Austria, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, Mexico he was absolutely better than Hamilton.

    Last year, that could have been said only for Brazil as every other time he beat Lewis, Lewis had some problem or the other.

    1. Forgot to add, he also legitimately overtook Hamilton on track for the first time this year in Austin.

    2. I think both Mercedes drivers stepped up this year. HAmilton really ran that wave of confidence and never seemed to show any weakness for Rosberg to exploit in the first half of the season. But on the other hand he was more often than not very close behind. Sochi would have probably been another win for Rosberg if not for the car giving up on him.

      Lets hope that this strong end to the season from Rosberg fires him up to hit the ground running, and that Hamilton himself can make another step forward to give us a tight fight. And if Ferrari can give Vettel a better car, we are in for something nice.

      1. Lets hope that this strong end to the season from Rosberg

        I believe Merc in the last few races have being pushing for Rosberg to win, so it depends if they continue that next year or set it back to equal next year

        1. if you want you can believe it Neil. You can also believe that Hamilton is a tad less “on it” after winning the championship and let some speed slip.

          But lets not forget that Rosberg would have won Sochi already if not for his car giving up on him. And how does that fit your view (Hamilton had not won the WDC there afterall), so I think there is quite a lot pointing to him just having found a good appraoch.

          1. How can you say he would have won Sochi? You can’t. Full Stop.

            Really after 3 years rosberg suddenly finds something? Especially after the team has said our price strategy is to secure 2nd place.

        2. awww that’s cute, Neil is a victim of the Hamilton publicity machine, and truly believes that his man cannot be beaten unless the car/team/someone other than Hamilton is to blame. :-) I sincerely hope you remove your head from the sand soon, it will make F1 a lot easier to enjoy and follow for you sir. :-)

    3. Hamilton blew Rosberg away in the first part of the season, no competition. Then Rosberg started improving and began to match him at some circuits, but all too late, particularly when bad luck struck too. After Hamilton wrapped it up at Austin (where Rosberg made a mistake under pressure again, despite probably faster and indeed overtaking Hamilton) you can’t really read too much into their relative performances. But if Rosberg keeps the same attitude and puts together 3-4 wins from the start, then he’ll be more convincing. I suspect, though, that Hamilton has been motivated mostly by winning the title over the past 2 years, Rosberg mostly by beating Hamilton. Winning the final races this year does nothing to disprove that theory, on the contrary. So it’s that hunger to win the title, irrespective of what Hamilton is doing, which will show that Rosberg has changed his mental approach in the right direction. It’s possible. Hamilton will probably have to dig deeper next year to win his 4th.

      1. I am not going for a Rosberg vs Hamilton debate.
        I am going for a Rosberg 2014 vs Rosberg 2015 debate. I personally think he has been better this year than previous.

        1. But your own comparison of Rosberg 2014 and 2015 depends entirely on comparing him to Hamilton: “Spain, Austria, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, Mexico [this year] he was absolutely better than Hamilton.” By the same token, I’m not comparing them in absolute terms. If you compare them overall, Hamilton clearly comes out on top. My point was Rosberg may well be improving after a very poor first half of the season, but until the real contest is one again, it’s not really clear.

    4. Rosberg finished the season 59 points behind Hamilton, not 58.

  5. Mercedes ruined the race. Ham was losing too much ground by staying out. Didn’t make sense at all.

    1. I think Lewis stayed out longer on his own. Remember, he was asking about staying out till the end. I think Merc plan was to give him tyre offset of about 5-6 laps, but Lewis made it 10 laps on his own.

      1. lewis basically said he didnt understand why the didnt pit him straight after nico pitted.he also said the tyre choice was mercs decision.

        1. … Isn’t that what Mercedes got all the criticism for last race?

          Well, this is an example of why they don’t try alternative strategies. Because there’s one optimum one and Rosberg was already on it.

        2. Merc gave him choice of tyres but he didn’t reply or give any feedback so they chose the harder of the two tyres. This was confirmed by Toto and Nikki. Next…..

      2. But it didn’t make a difference either way @sato113, sumedh, what would 5 laps have done: still put Ham behind, but closer in time, and with tyres that had to both do less and had less advantage – still would have likely been 1-2, might as well try everything and go for ss then I think (but HAM by that time had no way to know so to say he had to decide is a bit nonsense), or HAM could have just admitted to 2nd (as the team clearly thought should be done) and kept exact same strategy – no fuss, no hope of maybe somehow something of a fight, just be honest, Merc. trundling around to a 1-2.

        1. Ham got to within 1 second before rosbergs 2nd stop. If he had pitted the lap after he would have been maybe 2 secs behind with 30 laps or so to battle him. However, By pitting late, ham would have a 1-2 lap window in the finals laps to make the overtake.unfortunately this never happened.

          Remember ham had better pace on softs, than super softs

          1. Hamilton wasn’t ever really more than half a second quicker in any lap, apart from the one where Rosberg hit traffic. I don’t think that’s enough to pass.

  6. This race was a total fixed by Mercedes.If you look at the race again and again you will see that although Hamilton upped his pace from being 7 second behind to close right down to Rosberg to 0.07, the Mercedes team ensured Hamilton would not win by Pitting Rosberg when his tires were going off and by letting Hamilton stay out for far too longin the first stint
    When Hamilton came in they give him the soft instead of the supersofts which would have been the logical choice.
    They made sure Hamilton would not be able to close on Rosberg because they knew that the soft tires only could make real gains for a few laps-2-3 laps and then they would go off.
    In the second stint Hamilton felt that the tires were good and wanted to stay out and take his chances till the end of the race.The team said no.Also remember near the end of the race when they told Hamilton to change down to strap 10.They made sure he would not make any further progressive.To me they wanted to keep Rosberg happy by giving him a few wins at the end of the season.

    1. the Mercedes team ensured Hamilton would not win by pitting Rosberg when his tires were going off

      So you think Mercedes should have left Rosberg out when his tyres had gone off to help Hamilton?

      I’m not impressed by a lot of the criticism they are getting from fans, like this it seems completely unreasonable to me.

      1. So, you think leaving lewis out and then putting the same tyres on made sense?

        They stopped them fighting, you know they did. They stopped the race and fixed the result.

        They should have brought rosberg in and then brought lewis in a lap later.

        1. I don’t think it was Mercedes’ decision to leave HAM out on track for this long after the leader pitted, as it is simply not their style. The Beeb’s report on the race states :

          ” Hamilton then rolled the dice – he and engineer Peter Bonnington decided to delay his second stop to enable him to run harder for a shorter distance on his final set of tyres.

          The decision was based on Hamilton’s inability to pass Rosberg when following closely behind in the previous two races in Mexico and Brazil.

          The idea was to allow Hamilton to have fresher tyres than Rosberg for the closing laps and therefore have a better chance to overtake. ”

          1. Why does Lewis say he doesn’t understand why they didn’t come in?

            If Lewis and his engineer decided this together why did his engineer come on radio and say Lewis we are going to stretch this stint out. I really can’t believe are in denial over what they saw with their own eyes.

            The race was a farce they ended any race.

          2. Maybe the BBC pundits started supporting ROS ??

          3. Neil he says that because he lies. His ego is so fragile that he needs his fans to believe that he was shafted so they still think he is a driving god. He cannot accept or comphrend that he can just be beaten by other drivers sometimes, and it must hurt even more that ROS is in the same car. The radio conversations clearly show what was actually happening. What is not clear, Lewis asked for a different strategy and they gave it to him, he was pushing to stay out on those old tyres for as long as possible, even asking if he should try and finish the race on them at one point. If they hadn’t changed the strategy he would have complained like many did in Brazil, so now they change the strategy and he complains. Also need to note Mercedes asked Hamilton if he wanted the super softs after stretching the middle stint and he just didn’t reply (preparing excuse) so they gave him the safer option as others (vettel) were suffering graining on the Super soft. Please, enough……

        2. They should have brought rosberg in and then brought lewis in a lap later.

          They did just that in Mexico and Brazil and Lewis complained that he wasn’t being allowed to pursue alternate strategies.
          Now they did try an alternate strategy and Lewis is complaining again that “I don’t know why I wasn’t called in”.

        3. So, you think leaving lewis out and then putting the same tyres on made sense?

          I don’t think there was an alternative that was more likely to work, as explained here.

        4. Please Neil, go and watch all the post race interviews before you just believe what comes out of your ‘hero’s mouth. Please. It is honestly depressing listening to this argument, yes I can understand why you truly believe what you are saying, but facts speak the truth, your hero on the other hand has a habit of not doing so, always in an effort to make himself look better/not to blame etc. Man up Lewis, that was cheap implying the team stuffed you. Really cheap. Radio transcripts show the truth, keep an open mind if you get a chance to read them Neil or you are gonna get disappointed.

      2. Thing I don’t understand is why Mercedes don’t just ‘do a Ron’ and tell Lewis to pull his head in and stop basically lying and slagging off the team to avoid accepting that he was beaten. It must be disruptive for team harmony when he keeps blaming them for his own decisions, Monaco this year being another example. Then his legion of Social Media fans hit the forums etc and suddenly ‘the team cost Hamilton the win’ etc etc……. Sigh.. sometimes its actually funny, but mostly just comes across as annoying and petulant. hink someone needs to remind him he is an employee of a large team, a TEAM lewis, not just a bunch of people trying to help you win. They all want to win, and lose, as a TEAM. At the moment its, win = Lewis brilliance. Loss = team stuff up/conspiracy. Lol.

    2. Hello Trev, I am pretty sure you misinterpreted the engine mode dialogues between HAM and his engineer.
      Lewis was asked to turn down from strat-6 to strat-10 because ROS was still on strat-10 (the Merc fair game policy!). When he didn’t comply, ROS was allowed to turn up his engine from strat-10 to strat-6, and when Lewis finally went back to strat-10, ROS was also asked to do the same (the fair game policy again).

      I heard this on the BBC race coverage. You will get a better understanding of this when @keithcollantine publishes the team radio transcipt.

      1. Yes but the point he is making is that Lewis engine was newer thus could be pushed at strat-6 but nicos clearly was marginal. They were protecting the 1-2 this is obvious. By forcing Lewis to run a lower engine mode it negated his engine advantage that everyone has not stopped banging on about.

        1. Sure they were protecting the 1 – 2, but except for some rare occassions, Merc has always kept its two cars at the same engine mode in races. They always give the same engine mode order to both the cars, and we have heard this quite a few times in 2015.

          1. And in 2014.

  7. Perez has done a good job this year. I sincerely believe that Perez is a better driver than Hulk who is generally overrated by the fans IMHO.

    Force India has also done a good job after a poor and slow start to the season.

    Nice to Danny Kavyat ending higher than Ric.

    Meanwhile Hamilton keeps moaning and complaining if he is beaten. It is also a little surprise to see fans expecting that Merc should do whatever it can and put Rosberg into disadvantage to ensure that Hamilton wins . Looks like Hamilton’s influence is spreading to his fans too.

    1. Well, no one wants to win the world championship and then lose the next three races..

  8. Nico asked his engineers to do a doughnut they refused at first saying we have to save the fuel before they accepted that he do only one. What is the reason to save fuel ?

    1. Need to have enough in the tank to provide a sample for analysis to verify the fuel is legal. Otherwise it’s a straight disqualification.

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