Although the title was long decided, Nico Rosberg reminded Lewis Hamilton that he's not far behind in the final race of the 205 Formula One season. The excitement has already started to build for the new season.
Nico Rosberg won the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday with his teammate and world champion Lewis Hamilton finishing in second. It was Rosberg's first ever hat-trick of wins, the 30-year-old German adding to success in Mexico and Brazil for his sixth victory of the season.
"Austin (the US Grand Prix) was the low point of my season, since then I've come back a lot stronger," Rosberg said in his podium interview. "I'm really excited about how the season went. Next year could start tomorrow for me - I don't need a holiday," added Rosberg.
The German, who started on pole position, posted a winning time of one hour, 38 minutes, 30.175 seconds with Hamilton 8.271 seconds behind and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen claiming third, 19.430 adrift. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who started 15th, finished in fouth behind Raikkonen, who took only his third podium appearance of the season.
"It's always tough to race Lewis, he's one of the best out there, so it's even better to win against that opposition," Rosberg added.
Hamilton's hopes of a 44th career victory in car 44 on the 44th anniversary of the founding of the United Arab Emirates were dashed. The win was the 16th in 19 races for Mercedes though.
Hamilton, who clinched the title in Texas last month with three races to spare, could not catch Rosberg after an attempt at a different strategy failed to produce the desired result.
Hamilton had asked over the team radio with 15 laps to go whether he could go to the end having made only one pitstop to Rosberg's two but was left in no doubt that such a move would not work. He then pitted on the next lap.
jh/dv (AFP, Reuters, dpa)