The Yas Marina circuit of Abu Dhabi now signals the finale of the Formula 1 season. And on the country’s 44th anniversary of becoming a nation it was all to play for for Lewis Hamilton (whose driver number is 44) as he prepared to take the final victory of 2015.
Despite having secured the championship title in Austin, it was Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg who had the advantage near to the end of the season, winning in both Mexico and Brazil.
— Yas Marina Circuit (@ymcofficial) December 1, 2015
Rosberg’s determination was once more clear in Abu Dhabi as he took pole position ahead of Hamilton, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen also ahead of his teammate Sebastian Vettel after a timing error left the German way back down the grid.
The start was crucial for position and it was Rosberg who got the better of Hamilton at the start of the race, taking the lead into the first turn and retaining it for the entire race.
— Nico Rosberg (@nico_rosberg) November 30, 2015
Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren came to blows, leaving the former out of the race but for once the Venezuelan was the innocent victim.
Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz proved once more that they have earned their seats within the Toro Rosso teams, the rookies moving themselves up positions and overtaking with relative ease. Verstappen was unlucky when a lock up incident led to another unscheduled pit stop for him with a penalty for ignoring blue flags also added on.
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) December 1, 2015
As he struggled to regain positions he tussled with McLaren’s Jenson Button and was given a five second time penalty, leaving him finishing in 16th instead of 12th, but it meant little to the driver and his points tally overall.
Vettel had a strong race, moving himself up from 15th and using strategy to his advantage to finish in fourth, behind Raikkonen who rounded off the podium.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) November 29, 2015
As the race drew to a close, Hamilton was in the lead with a pit stop still to take. The Mercedes team urged the world champion to pit for fresh tyres, believing that he wouldn’t last the race on the ones he had. Unsure of which decision to make Hamilton did eventually pit and thus finished second to Rosberg.
It was a relatively undramatic race for a circuit which last year decided the title as Rosberg seemed to breeze towards his third back-to-back victory and Hamilton stood no real chance of winning.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 29, 2015
It was a strong race for the Force India pairing of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg who finished fifth and seventh, split by the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
It was a mixed weekend for Williams, Felipe Massa down in eighth with Valtteri Bottas only able to achieve a 13th place finish, costing him fourth position in the championship standings. Romain Grosjean’s Lotus finished in 9th with Daniil Kvyat’s Red Bull rounding out the top ten.
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) November 30, 2015
With the 2015 Formula 1 season now over it brings a chance for the drivers to relax and focus on next year. Rosberg has managed to end on a high but whether he can continue this winning streak into next year remains to be seen as Hamilton will aim to be on target for another title.
Formula 1 heads to Australia on 20 March for the season opener where Haas will join the party and many fans will be eager to see if Mercedes can continue their might and if McLaren have managed to succeed in producing a car worthy of their two championship winning drivers.
What did you think of the 2015 season? Have your say in the comments below.