Rosberg secures championship in Abu Dhabi
First and foremost, congratulations to Nico Rosberg for winning his first drivers’ championship! It was a long time coming and he must be really pleased after the long and ardous season (during which he lost the lead momentarily).
Secondly, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was sadly very uninteresting except maybe for the final few laps when Hamilton slowed down intentionally to bait Vettel into overtaking his team-mate.
- Lewis Hamilton – Lead almost the entire race, came out on top but sadly lost the championship by a mere 5 points.
- Nico Rosberg – Can really pat himself on the back on this one. After losing the championship two years in a row due to his nerves, he kept it together until the end and didn’t even let Vettel take advantage of the situation. Good job, Nico! You deserve it.
- Sebastian Vettel – Had an uneven race but ended the season 4th in the standings and on a podium, so that’s good.
- Max Verstappen – Despite hitting Hülkenberg at the start and spinning out, Max rose all the way back on top. He let Vettel slip past him but drove an otherwise solid race.
- Daniel Ricciardo – For whatever reason, Danny boy couldn’t catch up to his team-mate today.
- Kimi Räikkönen – I really would have wanted to have seen more fight from the iceman. The last leg of the season has been pretty dry for him in regards to podiums (his last coming from Austria). Not a bad finish for the season, let’s hope Ferrari can finally close the gap on Mercedes next season.
- Nico the Hülk – The Hülkster ends his long-term relationship with Force India as 9th in the championship with still no podiums to his name. To be fair, this is the best Nico has ever driven but now he can start afresh at Renault next season .
- Sergio Perez – The Mexican closes off the season with his best ever standing in the championship (7th) with two podiums no less. Perez and Force India are probably looking forward to 2017 with their partnership.
- Felipe Massa – Unlike another ex-F1 driver, Massa at least saw the chequered flag and, for a change, as the only Williams car to finish. It’s unfortunate that the Brazilian had to end the season on his worst standing since the 2009 season (when he was injured) but he’s had a good, long run. Best of luck to you, Felipe.
- Fernando Alonso – Alonso is not only the last man to score points in the Abu Dhabi GP he is also the 10th place man in the championship. That may not mean much to the Spanish double champion but it’s a huge step up from where McLaren was last season.
Golden Pineapple Award: Romain Grosjean, Haas F1
Though his team-mate secured Haas’s Pineapple Chart victory a long time ago, it’s the Frenchman who claims runner-up for the Pineapple chart with three 11th place finishes this season. Grosjean will continue to race in F1s, Gutierrez most likely will not. With his 29 points, Romain has secured Haas’s 8th position in the championship and brought much-needed extra revenue for the American constructor. Admittedly, this has been Romain’s worst season since 2014 but still, he’s the team’s best chance to improve next season (though Ocon has shown some promise too).
Drop-out count: 5
Various technical issues bugged drivers who had to end the race. Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat all had to end their races due to non-specified technical problems. With Carlos Sainz‘s gear-box getting totalled by a bump in the back from Jolyon Palmer, Toro Rosso ended the season on a low (though 7th in the championship).
Jenson Button‘s front right suspension also broke on him and sadly Button had to end his final F1 race on a low. Still best of luck to Jense on his consulting job at McLaren.
Back of the Lot News:
Esteban Gutierrez, for whom this was most likely his very final Grand Prix, didn’t manage to do anything worth-while. He was 12th behind his team-mate.
Manor not only failed to challenge Sauber’s position in the championship but Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein even bumped into each other late in the race. A shame really since both drivers were driving promisingly. Ocon and Wehrlein were 13th and 14th respectively. Still no word on what will become of Wehrlein.
Sauber ended the season on a low but they have little to worry about with the 9th place in the championship in the bag and a new driver (most likely) stepping into the second car. Marcus Ericsson drove another nondescript race and was 15th. Felipe Nasr who saved Sauber (and who sadly will probably be forced out of the sport) was 16th and second-to-last if only because of a 5 second penalty handed to…
Dead Last: Jolyon Palmer – Palmer’s quite colourless rookie season comes to an end with an 18th place in the championship, one championship point in the bag and his second ever Dead Last Award. Hopefully his second season at Renault will see some improvement with Nico the Hülk as his team-mate.