Nico Rosberg clinches maiden F1 title
Source: CNN Sports : Nico Rosberg has been crowned Formula One world champion for the first time in his career at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Needing to finish on the podium to guarantee his first drivers’ title and deny Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg came home second behind the Briton in a tense climax to the race at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday.
Hamilton has suggested before the race that his odds of overturning Rosberg’s 12-point lead heading into Abu Dhabi were “ pretty impossible” and so it proved in the end, but the three-time world champion tried until the end.
Leading the race from start to finish, Hamilton slowed pace down in the latter stages, against the wishes of his Mercedes team, enabling a chasing pack led by Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen to catch up with second-place Rosberg.
Hamilton needed his great rival to finish fourth or lower for him to win the title, but Rosberg held firm fending off an advancing Vettel in the final three laps of the race with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen not far behind in fourth.
For Rosberg, who has played second fiddle to Hamilton over the past two seasons, a first world title was rich reward for his perseverance.
The German won the opening four races of the season to open up a 43-point lead over Hamilton, only for the Briton to fight back — by the summer break, Hamilton had turned the deficit into a 19-point lead.
When the drivers returned for part two in September, Rosberg was quickest out of the blocks, winning the first three races and then the Japanese Grand Prix to close in on the title only for Hamilton to mount a valiant late charge winning the last four races of the season.
There were celebrations for Rosberg on the podium but also palpable relief as he reflected on emulating his father, Keke Rosberg who won his only world title in 1982.
“Those last few laps were not enjoyable,” Rosberg said after the race before paying tribute to his wife, Vivian and one-year-old daughter Alaia
“I’m very, very proud to have done the same feat as my father — it will be exciting to see him,” he added.