Race Report: Rosberg wins in Abu Dhabi

14

Nico Rosberg wins the final race of the 2015 Formula One season in fine fashion. His third win in a row after converting his sixth pole position into a race victory. Rosberg battled his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, for most of the race but was dominant with an older engine to take the flag.

In the end, Lewis was always going to be about 6 seconds behind Nico but it was a team call as to if they put Lewis on options or not. They chose not.

Ferrari’s Kimi Riakkonen converted a good weekend into a podium finish in third while his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, converted a qualifying error into a 4th place finish with some terrific team strategy and driving. Vettel was able to spoil Force India driver Sergio Perez’s terrific weekend and potential 4th place finish.

WinWin

A win for Nico Rosberg who, regardless if Lewis is struggling with his car or has decided to relax a bit after securing title, is racking up wins and taking the momentum into 2016. It may not be momentum that is mentally damaging Lewis but it is momentum that is boosting Rosberg’s confidence and that’s something he’ll need in order to fight Lewis in 2016.

Also a win for Mercedes and their podium choice as it wasn’t lost on me that they had a female team member on the podium in a country that you may not have expected that and which is usually a very male dominated culture. And they say F1 isn’t political…guffaw.

A win for Kimi Raikkonen who, in his more mature era, seems to need the car perfect in order to provide a podium performance. Kimi said that car was much better and the team had a good weekend which means he secured a podium finish. Kimi’s podium also secured his position in the championship ahead of fellow Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas.

Conversely, Raikkonen’s teammate, Vettel, was able to turn qualifying errors into a 4th place finish. While Ferrari ran a tactical gamble, it was the right strategy and Seb drove perfectly to take advantage of that strategy.

Force India had a big win with a 5th and 7th place finish and Sergio Perez bested his teammate Nico Hulkenberg in the driver’s championship.

It’s a big win for Lotus F1’s Romain Grosjean who had to secure the team’s constructor’s championship position by himself by beating both Toro Rosso’s to finish 9th in the race and giving the team 6th in the constructor’s chase.

Daniil Kvyat’s 10th place finish helped keep him ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the driver’s championship although the Australian had a great run to 6th place in the race.

Abu Dhabi and Yas Marina had a win in a visually stunning race and a race that had some passing (DRS enabled but passing nonetheless).

FailFail

It was a bit of a fail for Plucky Teen Max Verstappen who managed to penalize himself and fall back to 12th while his teammate looked very competitive but failed to make the points.

Valtteri Bottas was looking to give Williams F1 a good finish but was released from a pit stop in an unsafe manor and was penalized for clouting the McLaren of Jenson Button as he pitted for new tires. This cost the Fin 4th in the driver’s championship. Williams also couldn’t seem to find the pace to get Felipe Massa any higher than 8th at a circuit that the Mercedes-powered cars seemed to do well at.

Ultimately Nico Hulkenberg was gunning for a better finish and while he was in the points, he was beaten by Sergio Perez in the driver’s championship.

WTHWTH

It most likely wouldn’t have worked but why not pit Lewis Hamilton earlier and put options on to make a run for it in the final race? Lewis himself was questioning the call and he felt up for a gamble but the team liked the idea of a 1, 2 finish which meant they secured 86% of the total points on offer for the 2015 season. A record no less.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso had a moment which prompted the exit of Pastor Maldonado and then radioed that if there was no safety car, they should retire the car adding to the thought of Ron Dennis and his sabbatical comment as well as rumors that he wasn’t happy with the Alonso meme from the last grand prix. Maybe a new meme is needed #driversronwouldratherhave

Results

PosDriverCar
1Nico RosbergMercedes
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari
4Sebastian VettelFerrari
5Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault
7Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes
8Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes
9Romain GrosjeanLotus/Mercedes
10Daniil KvyatRed Bull/Renault
11Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Renault
12Max VerstappenToro Rosso/Renault
13Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda
14Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes
15Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari
16Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari
17Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda
18Will StevensMarussia/Ferrari
19Roberto MerhiMarussia/Ferrari
Pastor MaldonadoLotus/Mercedes

FINAL DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

PosDriverPoints
1Lewis Hamilton381
2Nico Rosberg322
3Sebastian Vettel278
4Kimi Raikkonen150
5Valtteri Bottas136
6Felipe Massa121
7Daniil Kvyat95
8Daniel Ricciardo92
9Sergio Perez78
10Nico Hulkenberg58
11Romain Grosjean51
12Max Verstappen49
13Felipe Nasr27
14Pastor Maldonado27
15Carlos Sainz18
16Jenson Button16
17Fernando Alonso11
18Marcus Ericsson9
19Roberto Merhi0
20Alexander Rossi0
21Will Stevens0

FINAL CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

PosConstructorPoints
1Mercedes703
2Ferrari428
3Williams/Mercedes257
4Red Bull/Renault187
5Force India/Mercedes136
6Lotus/Mercedes78
7Toro Rosso/Renault67
8Sauber/Ferrari36
9McLaren/Honda27
10Marussia/Ferrari0
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Paul KieferJr

Better yet:
“#teamprincipalsbetterthanRonDennis”

jakobusvdl

#martinwhitmarsh??????

MIE

Finbarr?

jakobusvdl

I’ll see your Finbarr and raise you an #Andrea Sassetti (Moda)

The Sarcastic SOB

Flavio.

jakobusvdl

#
‘Bubbles’ Horsley – Hesketh GP ;-)

BasCB

I felt that Lewis lost the most in dropping too far back during the first stint.

Coji

“…female team member on the podium in a country that you may not have expected that and which is usually a very male dominated culture.”

A british resident of Abu Dhabi stated this is not as much of a case as in other Middle Eastern countries and cultures. Whether or not true, what would Merc have to gain but doing what they did?

How many passes occurred? Last year it was just over 30, which for 22 cars on track for dozens of laps, doesn’t seem like much.

Andreas Möller

On the unsafe release, Rob Smedley said that they did release Bottas at the right point, and Valtteri simply saw Button too late. Eh? Last time I checked, the team is responsible for making sure the driver pulls out into a safe gap. If your driver collides with an oncoming car, the car can not have been released “at the right point”. Granted, the McLaren wasn’t turning into the pit box immediately in front of Williams (the Ferrari garage was between them), but still – that would have been a marginal call, even if Bottas had come off the throttle… Read more »

228929292AABBB

You just have to ask yourself, if the idea is for the driver to be released but then to drive slowly and stay to the right until the car has passed, what the advantage of releasing him at that point is, rather than waiting one more second and then releasing him when he can pull out and go. Either way, he’s ending up waiting until the McLaren pulls in before he can get on down the road, but one way is safe and the other way is an exercise in avoiding a totally unnecessary collision lurking in a blind area… Read more »

Andreas Möller

Good one! :-)

$1711913

In case anyone was counting on me and my stopwatch timing NBC’s pathetic coverage – I didn’t get time, fell asleep half way through the race and watched with amusement, on waking, that NBC was running a long soccer commercial which ended with the commentary, “In case you missed it, Bottas lost half of his wing…” And then the replay.
I suspect, that if you deducted the (un)necessary replays because of commercial breaks NBCSN’s viewing time might get under 50%! Hey, I get it! They are in beta testing…. Maybe that’s their target for 2016?

Mike S

I am fighting sliding into a non-F1 season depression again…so i must turn towards my 12-step post F1 season recovery plan Step 1 I will admit the F1 engine deal(s) is beyond my understanding and no amount of sane reasoning will help Step 2 I will believe that powers with greater cash and political savvy WILL ensure that Austin/COTA is secured as the USA F1 race Step 3 i will attempt to suspend my understanding of Lewis’ fashion decisions, but i don’t think i will ever, ever get it Step 4 I will go back and take an inventory of… Read more »

Bacon Wrapped Sushi

A solid race. I think the rating of 3.5 is fair. Yas Marina looks so cool, but the negative is the lack of champagne on the podium. Oh well, at least a woman was up there. Nice gesture Merc!

It will be a sad offseason, look forward to the banter on the podcasts between now and then. Talk some about your guitars and stuff. Would be curious to hear music / band stories.