Nico Rosberg wins maiden Formula One world title

By @saihoops on
Nico Rosberg
Formula One - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi - 27/11/2016 - Mercedes' Nico Rosberg of Germany celebrates with his team after winning the Formula One world championship. Reuters /Ahmed Jadallah

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg captured his first Formula One world championship Sunday after finishing second behind teammate Lewis Hamilton in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In a tense climax, Robserg finished second ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. Hamilton claimed his 10th win of the season but finished five points shy of Rosberg's final championship tally of 385 points. Hamilton needed Rosberg to slip out of the podium to win the title.

According to several reports, Hamilton, who controlled the race from start to finish, disobeyed team orders towards the end by slowing down, thus backing teammate Robserg toward Vettel and Verstappen. BBC reports that Mercedes' executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe urged Hamilton to pick up the pace but the Briton refused to do so. 

Hamilton's tactics didn't work as the German crossed the finish line and celebrated with doughnut spins on the pit before embracing his wife and the cheers from the crowd. After the race, Ferrari's Vettel described Hamilton's tactics as "dirty tricks" and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff warned Hamilton of possible repercussions.

"Undermining a structure in public means you are putting yourself before the team. It is very simple. Anarchy does not work in any team and in any company," Wolff said of Hamilton's tactcs, via Sydney Morning Herald.

"You need to win and to lose with dignity," added Wolff. 

Nico Rosberg emulates father

Rosberg, who finished runner-up the last two seasons, emulated father Keke who won the F1 world championship in 1982. The Rosbergs are now only the second father-son combo to win the title since the Hills (Graham and Damon). 

After finishing behind Hamilton for the past few seasons, Robserg finally manged to beat his teammate and arch-rival. After Sunday's race, Rosberg thanked Hamilton for pushing him to the brink and bringing out the best in him. 

“It feels like I’ve been racing him forever. He has always managed to just edge me out and get the title, even when we were small in go-karts. He’s an amazing driver and one of the best in history, so it’s unbelievably special to beat him because the level is so high," said the new F1 world champion, via NY Times.

After the dust settled, Hamilton was asked to explain his late-race tactics. “I don’t think what I did was dangerous, so I don’t think I did anything unfair. We are fighting for a championship, so I controlled the pace. That’s the rules.”

Nico Rosberg finished with nine victories, eight pole positions, six fastest laps en route to 385 points that helped him win the F1 world championship. Lewis Hamilton finished with ten wins and 380 points.