Nico Rosberg completed the season with a hat-trick of victories, beating his team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The season finale lacked drama compared to the previous years as the Formula 1 world championships have been wrapped up already. For Rosberg, this was a comfortable lights-to-flag triumph at the Yas Marina circuit.
Since winning the title at the US Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton had no answer to the speed of Nico Rosberg.
It seems the big pressure was off and Rosberg won every subsequent race, finishing another runner-up campaign with six successive pole positions in total, and a run of victories that took him to 14 overall and provided him with a lift ahead of the 2016 season.
Come the end of the 55 laps Rosberg finished 8.2 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who opted for a different race strategy in a bid to find a way past his team-mate, only to fall short.
When Rosberg made his second pit-stop on lap 31, Hamilton opted to stay out rather than pit on the following lap.
As Hamilton extended the life out of a set of soft Pirelli tyres there followed an exchange of messages between driver and the pitwall over to whether he could go to the end of the race.
With Rosberg closing rapidly, Hamilton eventually pitted for a second time after 41 laps, but rather than taking on super-softs – although he had no new sets left, only used – the switch was to softs, leaving him with a 12.5 seconds margin.
There was another brief surge, but ultimately it was game over for Hamilton who had to settle for runner-up to Rosberg again.
Mercedes set a new record with a twelveth one-two of the season. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished on the podium for only the third time this year, and for once ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who rose from P15 on the grid to fourth.
The Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg finished a strong fifth and seventh either side of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Williams driver Felipe Massa was eighth, followed by Romain Grosjean in his final race for Lotus ahead of his move next season to Haas. Grosjean used an alternative strategy and a late charge on super-softs to come through from P19 on the grid.
Daniil Kvyat completed the top ten in his Red Bull, fending off Carlos Sainz Jr.
Incidents in a hectic first part of the race included a collision in the pitlane between Valtteri Bottas and Jenson Button.
As Bottas was released – unsafely according to the stewards as he was penalised with a five-second time penalty – and as Button cut across into his pitbox, the Williams caught the rear of the McLaren.
The incident resulted in damage to Button’s rear wing, while Bottas sustained front-wing damage, leading to a long, slow lap back to the pits for a new nose.
That relegated Bottas to P18 at the time, with Fernando Alonso the only man behind as the two-time champion had required his own new front wing at the end of lap one in the wake of a first-corner crash with Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus.
It was the ninth time this season Maldonado had retired, while Alonso’s error incurred the wrath of the stewards as he was also penalised with a drive-through penalty for causing a collision.
Running around at the rear, and just before the midway point of the race, the double world champion suggested he had had enough when he declared over the radio: “If we don’t get a safety car I will retire the car”.
However, Alonso kept going to the flag, ending his worst season – in terms of points scored – since his 2001 debut with Minardi – down in P17, with only Manor duo Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi behind him.
And so ends the 2015 Formula 1 world championship. Full credit to Mercedes in providing a utterly dominant racing car and Lewis Hamilton in winning the title. The others needs to step up their game. Roll on next season.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, race results after 55 laps:
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:38:30.175
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +8.271s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +19.430s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +43.734s
5 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes +63.952s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault +65.010s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +93.618s
8 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes +97.751s
9 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes +98.201s
10 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault +102.371s
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso-Renault +103.525s
12 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda +1 lap
13 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes +1 lap
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap
15 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap
16 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda +2 laps
18 Will Stevens Marussia-Ferrari +2 laps
19 Roberto Merhi Marussia-Ferrari +3 laps
– Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes DNF
1 Lewis Hamilton 381
2 Nico Rosberg 322
3 Sebastian Vettel 278
4 Kimi Raikkonen 150
5 Valtteri Bottas 136
6 Felipe Massa 121
7 Daniil Kvyat 95
8 Daniel Ricciardo 92
9 Sergio Perez 78
10 Nico Hulkenberg 58
11 Romain Grosjean 51
12 Max Verstappen 49
13 Felipe Nasr 27
14 Pastor Maldonado 27
15 Carlos Sainz 18
16 Jenson Button 16
17 Fernando Alonso 11
18 Marcus Ericsson 9
19 Roberto Merhi 0
20 Alexander Rossi 0
21 Will Stevens 0
1 Mercedes 703
2 Ferrari 428
3 Williams-Mercedes 257
4 Red Bull-Renault 187
5 Force India-Mercedes 136
6 Lotus-Mercedes 78
7 Toro Rosso-Renault 67
8 Sauber-Ferrari 36
9 McLaren-Honda 27
10 Marussia-Ferrari 0