Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates | AFP |
Nico Rosberg won his maiden Formula One world title by securing second place behind his Mercedes arch-rival Lewis Hamilton in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.
Rosberg started the 21st and final race of 2016 12 points clear of Hamilton and despite the British reigning champion doing everything he could, Rosberg took second to clinch his first championship by five points.
World champion! pic.twitter.com/SwOEjrYeAL
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 27, 2016
He emulates his father Keke who won the title in 1982.
Formula One world champions after Nico Rosberg won the 2016 title on Sunday (year, driver, nationality, team):
1950 Guiseppe Farina (ITA) Alfa Romeo
1951 Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Alfa Romeo
1952 Alberto Ascari (ITA) Ferrari
1953 Alberto Ascari (ITA) Ferrari
1954 Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Maserati
1955 Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Mercedes
1956 Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Ferrari
1957 Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Maserati
1958 Mike Hawthorn (ENG) Ferrari
1959 Jack Brabham (AUS) Cooper
1960 Jack Brabham (AUS) Cooper
1961 Phil Hill (USA) Ferrari
1962 Graham Hill (ENG) BRM
1963 Jim Clark (SCO) Lotus
1964 John Surtees (ENG) Ferrari
1965 Jim Clark (SCO) Lotus
1966 Jack Brabham (AUS) Brabham
1967 Denis Hulme (NZL) Brabham
1968 Graham Hill (ENG) Lotus
1969 Jackie Stewart (SCO) Matra
1970 Jochen Rindt (AUS) Lotus
1971 Jackie Stewart (SCO) Tyrrell
1972 Emerson Fittipaldi (BRA) Lotus
1973 Jackie Stewart (SCO) Tyrrell
1974 Emerson Fittipaldi (BRA) McLaren
1975 Niki Lauda (AUT) Ferrari
1976 James Hunt (ENG) McLaren
1977 Niki Lauda (AUT) Ferrari
1978 Mario Andretti (USA) Lotus
1979 Jody Scheckter (RSA) Ferrari
1980 Alan Jones (AUS) Williams
1981 Nelson Piquet (BRA) Brabham
1982 Keke Rosberg (FIN) Williams
1983 Nelson Piquet (BRA) Brabham
1984 Niki Lauda (AUT) McLaren
1985 Alain Prost (FRA) McLaren
1986 Alain Prost (FRA) McLaren
1987 Nelson Piquet (BRA) Williams
1988 Ayrton Senna (BRA) McLaren
1989 Alain Prost (FRA) McLaren
1990 Ayrton Senna (BRA) McLaren
1991 Ayrton Senna (BRA) McLaren
1992 Nigel Mansell (ENG) Williams
1993 Alain Prost (FRA) Williams
1994 Michael Schumacher (GER) Benetton
1995 Michael Schumacher (GER) Benetton
1996 Damon Hill (ENG) Williams
1997 Jacques Villeneuve (CAN) Williams
1998 Mika Hakkinen (FIN) McLaren
1999 Mika Hakkinen (FIN) McLaren
2000 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari
2001 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari
2002 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari
2003 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari
2004 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari
2005 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault
2006 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault
2007 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari
2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren
2009 Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn
2010 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull
2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull
2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull
2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull
2014 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes
2015 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes
2016 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton led Nico Rosberg into the first corner in Sunday’s explosive title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina circuit on Sunday.
TITLE WATCH: LAP 43/55
2 ROS (+1.5)
3 VES (+4.7)
4 RIC (+6.3)
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 27, 2016
At the end of a compelling season in which both drivers’ fortunes have ebbed and flowed Rosberg holds a precious 12-point advantage in the drivers standings over his Mercedes teammate.
But it was Hamilton in the lead from Rosberg at the start of the deciding final race of the season.
The German will emulate his father Keke, the 1982 champion, and claim his maiden title if he finishes in the top three – irrespective of where his friend and foe Hamilton comes in.
The title protagonists cut relaxed figures in the pre-race drivers parade, the nerves well hidden under the sunglasses protecting them from the brilliant setting sun.
Hamilton told Channel 4: “There are lots of Brits here to support me, there’s an incredible amount of positive energy.
“I planned to get pole, that’s where I am but so much can happen, I’ve just got to focus that I can win.”
Standing beside him Rosberg as he has done throughout was keeping his emotions in check.
“I’m trying to keep it business as usual, not easy in the circumstances, but I’m liking the car, it’s fast.”
Rosberg has had to sit and suffer as his Mercedes teammate ran off with the drivers crown in 2014 and 2015.
But after a gripping 2016 season played out over a record 21 races the calm and cool German is now so close to the F1 holy grail he can see his image reflected on the trophy.
Hamilton has rattled off wins in the last three races in the United States, Mexico and Brazil to ensure the title goes down to the last throw of the dice at Abu Dhabi’s glittering floodlit desert venue.
Hamilton bossed qualifying on Saturday to take pole, with Rosberg alongside him on the front row.
For Hamilton, whose roller-coaster season has been marred by some desperate bad luck, he will need the F1 gods to be in a particularly malevolent mood towards his rival if he is to join the exclusive club of drivers who have won four titles.
Tens of millions
“I’m the champion in my own heart, whatever happens,” Hamilton remarked provocatively on Friday.
For Mercedes the Rosberg v Hamilton rivalry is priceless promotion for their brand, with team principal Toto Wolff keeping the box-office drama on the road.
Which is more than his drivers managed to do in Spain when they wiped each other out with a first lap crash.
Wolff, like tens of millions of F1 fans, is anticipating a mighty scrap in Abu Dhabi.
“It’s normal that here this is like a volcano to erupt with two of them, the two very different personalities,” he predicted.
“One is going to dig a little deeper, the other one is going to do it in a different way… ”
Sunday’s title showdown evokes memories of the infamous climax to the 1990 championship, when Ayrton Senna took his McLaren team-mate Alain Prost out at the first corner in Japan.
Wolff though is adamant that will not be repeated.
“I think it is very difficult to construct such a situation and make it work. I don’t think that’s the way Nico operates and it would certainly not look very good.”
Aside from the destination of the 2016 championship Sunday’s race spells retirement for two of the sports most cherished stars – 2009 world champion Jenson Button and Brazilian Felipe Massa.