Rosberg completes hat-trick with Abu Dhabi win

By on Sunday, November 29, 2015
Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Nico Rosberg cruised to victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading a Mercedes 1-2 and completing a hat-trick of wins to close out the 2015 campaign.

Rosberg pulled away from Lewis Hamilton in the first stint and while Hamilton was able to charge forwards in the second stint, the Briton’s late second stop did not have the desired effect and he collected the runner-up spot.

Mercedes' 1-2 ensured it broke its own points record, finishing the year having amassed 703.

Rosberg retained the lead from pole position as Hamilton made a sluggish getaway and only just preserved second position into Turn 1.

Rosberg broke DRS range within the space of a lap and gradually pulled clear of Hamilton, with the gap between the pair hovering around the six second mark following their respective first stops.

Hamilton had to clear the yet-to-pit Sebastian Vettel but he did so with ease, his move facilitated by Vettel locking up and running wide at Turn 17.

Hamilton began to close the gap to Rosberg and reeled off a sequence of rapid laps to whittle down the six second deficit to a second until the German driver reacted and stopped for fresh Primes on lap 32.

Hamilton stayed out and was informed by Mercedes to prolong his stint as Rosberg lapped quicker on fresher tyres, 18 seconds behind his team-mate.

Rosberg reduced the gap to eight seconds when Hamilton stopped on lap 42 and the Briton came out of the pits 13 seconds adrift of Rosberg.

Hamilton reduced the gap to seven seconds before the drivers started setting similar lap times and Rosberg ultimately marginally increased his advantage by the chequered flag.

Kimi Räikkönen had a lonely run to third position for Ferrari while Vettel ran the first two stints on Primes before switching to Options late on, recovering from 15th on the grid to fourth.

Räikkönen's podium ensured he beat compatriot Valtteri Bottas to fourth position in the championship.

Sergio Pérez collected a fine fifth place for Force India while Daniel Ricciardo was sixth and Nico Hülkenberg seventh, the latter clinching 10th in the final standings.

Williams endured a low-key race as Felipe Massa was only eighth as Valtteri Bottas dropped out of the points following a clash in the pit lane with Jenson Button.

Bottas was released into the path of Button and sustained front wing damage, forcing him to stop the next time around for repairs, with the situation accentuated by a five-second penalty.

Romain Grosjean claimed points on his final outing for Lotus courtesy of ninth place while Daniil Kvyat faded to 10th late on amid complaints over his brakes.

Carlos Sainz Jr. made an electric start but suffered a slow stop and ended in 11th, ahead Button and Bottas.

Marcus Ericsson led home Sauber team-mate Felipe Nasr and while Max Verstappen finished 12th he was demoted to 16th post-race after being handed a time penalty for ignoring blue flags.

Verstappen was also given a five-second sanction for exceeding track limits when he passed Button at Turn 9.

Fernando Alonso took 17th, with Will Stevens ending in 18th, comfortably ahead of Roberto Merhi.

Pastor Maldonado’s race came to an early end when he was eliminated in a first corner collision with Alonso, who clipped Nasr before running into the Venezuelan.

Alonso was subsequently handed a drive through penalty for causing the accident.

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