ABU DHABI: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has won his first Formula One world championship after finishing second at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Rosberg finished the race behind teammate Lewis Hamilton, who claimed his 53rd race win, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third, the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo fourth and fifth respectively.
It was a tight finish as Hamilton blatantly disobeyed team orders to speed up near the end, thus backing Rosberg toward Vettel and Verstappen. Mercedes bosses left open the possibility of disciplinary action against Hamilton after he ignored their orders while fighting Rosberg.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff warned of potential ‘anarchy’ and said he had yet to decide how to respond to a situation that threatened to undermine the team. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, a compatriot of Rosberg, described the tactics as ‘dirty tricks’. Having finished runner-up for the past two seasons, the 31-year-old Rosberg finally emulated his father Keke who won the F1 title in 1982. “That was definitely not the most enjoyable race I’ve had. Can’t believe it’s over. I’m ecstatic,” Rosberg said. “It was so intense, the race, so tough.”
Rosberg repeatedly wiped his face and lowered his head several times in the post-race news conference, appearing emotionally exhausted as he tilted back into his chair and rubbed his eyes. Still, he expects to find plenty of energy to celebrate his win. “Tonight’s going to be absolutely nuts,” he said. “I don’t think I’m going to be available for a few days.”
“Two Rosbergs are world champions … if I’ve got my statistics right,” Rosberg said jokingly, before recounting how his father has adopted a keen but discreet profile. “Every Saturday night I get a text from him: ‘Pedal to the metal.’ That’s it. It’s good that he’s let me get on with it.”