Rosberg signs off season with victory

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

Drivers’ championship:

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

Constructors’ championship:

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

Rosberg achieves sixth consecutive pole

Nico Rosberg is on a winning form on Saturday afternoon with yet another pole position. This was his sixth consecutive P1, beating his team-mate Lewis Hamilton to record the team’s fifteen front row lockout this season.

The Mercedes driver initially trailed the champion in both Q1 and Q2 at the Yas Marina circuit, but Rosberg found the speed when it mattered to top the timesheet by 0.377 seconds.

Sergio Perez showed Force India’s rapid Friday form was no fluke by qualifying fourth fastest, just 0.133 seconds slower than Kimi Raikkonen, who was the only Ferrari driver to make the top ten after team-mate Sebastian Vettel made a shocking exit in Q1.

Perez was provisionally third quickest after the first runs in Q3, but he couldn’t go quicker on his second attempt as Raikkonen improved.

Daniel Ricciardo topped a close fight to be fifth quickest, ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, and Felipe Massa.

Ricciardo’s Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat was nearly two tenths off in ninth, but well ahead Carlos Sainz Jr, who only made a single run in Q3 and was nearly eight tenths of a second adrift of the Russian’s time.

Sainz bumped his Toro Rosso team-mate Max Verstappen out of the top ten with his final effort in Q2, while McLaren’s Jenson Button missed the cut by less than two tenths of a second as he set P12, complaining of a lack of grip.

Lotus suffered a tricky qualifying session, with Pastor Maldonado only P13 after looking strong in practice, while team-mate Romain Grosjean was unable to set a time in Q2 after suffering technical problems with his E23.

The pair sandwiched the Sauber of Felipe Nasr, who failed to improve on his Q1 laptime and ended up P14.

Four-time world champion Vettel was the biggest casualty of the first segment of qualifying, backing off early on his final flying lap thinking he’d done enough already but ending up a lowly P16 as rivals improved.

It was another disappointing session for the double world champion Fernando Alonso, who looked to be on a decent lap until his McLaren-Honda suffered a left-rear puncture that forced him to back off.

He ended up P17, ahead of Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, which appeared to suffer a technical problem in the closing stages that prevented him in making Q2.

Will Stevens out-qualified returning team-mate Roberto Merhi by a massive 1.137 seconds as the Manor Marussias again brought up the tailend of the timesheet.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m40.237s
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m40.614s
3    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m41.051s
4    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m41.184s
5    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m41.444s
6    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m41.656s
7    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m41.686s
8    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m41.759s
9    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m41.933s
10    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m42.708s
11    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m42.521s
12    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m42.668s
13    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m42.807s
14    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m43.614s
15    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    No time
16    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m42.941s
17    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m43.187s
18    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m43.838s
19    Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    1m46.297s
20    Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    1m47.434s

Rosberg takes commanding win in Brazil

Nico Rosberg achieved his second successive Formula 1 victory with a commanding drive at Interlagos.

The pole sitter came across his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the approach to the Senna S on the opening lap. Nico defended his track position and from there, controlled the pace and record win number 13.

Newly-crowned champion Hamilton asked his team if it could adapt his race strategy to give him an opportunity to beat Rosberg, but in the end, Lewis had to follow his team-mate on a three-stop and crossed the finishing line 7.7 seconds adrift.

During the second stint, the Silver Arrows ran very close but Hamilton dropped away due to heavy tyre wear.

Rosberg’s fifth victory of the season secured second in the drivers’ championship as his main rival Sebastian Vettel could only finish third for Ferrari.

The Brazilian Grand Prix was quite processional with some added action in the midfield. The small threat of rain in the closing stages never materialising and Rosberg lapping everyone up to fourth position.

Ferrari was unable to challenge Mercedes. Vettel tried something different by running a second stint on the softs as most chose mediums but could not get closer and finished comfortably clear of two-stopping team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in third.

Valtteri Bottas made a brilliant start from his penalised seventh on the grid to squeeze past Daniil Kvyat and Nico Hulkenberg for fifth.

But that was as good as it got for the Williams driver, who stayed in that position for the remainder of the race and ensured his Williams team clinched third in the constructors’ championship.

Hulkenberg took the flag in sixth place, ahead of Kvyat and Felipe Massa, whose Williams team was summoned to the stewards after the race in relation to a tyre pressure and temperature discrepancy on the grid.

Romain Grosjean was ninth ahead of Max Verstappen, who made a series of passes in the final stint after choosing to run the soft.

It was Verstappen’s sixth successive points-scoring finish, which is record run for a Toro Rosso driver.

His bold passes at Senna S was the highlight of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Max’s move on Sergio Perez was spectacular.

It was a complete contrast day for Carlos Sainz Jr, who had a problem on the grid and had to start from the pitlane before retiring on the opening lap.

Pastor Maldonado, who ended up P11, collided with Marcus Ericsson at the Senna S, tipping the Sauber into a spin and incurring a five-second penalty.

Daniel Ricciardo, running the updated Renault engine, was P12, ahead of Felipe Nasr and the McLaren duo Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

Ericsson, who lost five positions on the first lap when he ran wide at the Descida do Lago, continued after the contact with Maldonado but lost too much ground and finished P17.

The Manor-run Marussias of Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi, who will be replaced by Roberto Merhi for the final race in Abu Dhabi, completed the finishers in P18 and P19 respectively.

Brazilian Grand Prix, race results after 71 laps:

1    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1h31m09.090s
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    7.756s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    14.244s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    47.543s
5    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
6    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
7    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1 Lap
8    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
9    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1 Lap
10    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
11    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1 Lap
12    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1 Lap
13    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
14    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
15    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
16    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
17    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    2 Laps
18    Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    4 Laps
19    Alexander Rossi    Marussia-Ferrari    4 Laps
–    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    Retirement

Drivers’ championship:

1    Lewis Hamilton    363
2    Nico Rosberg    297
3    Sebastian Vettel    266
4    Valtteri Bottas    136
5    Kimi Raikkonen    135
6    Felipe Massa    121
7    Daniil Kvyat    94
8    Daniel Ricciardo    84
9    Sergio Perez    68
10    Nico Hulkenberg    52
11    Max Verstappen    48
12    Romain Grosjean    47
13    Felipe Nasr    27
14    Pastor Maldonado    26
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

Constructors’ championship:

1    Mercedes    660
2    Ferrari    401
3    Williams-Mercedes    257
4    Red Bull-Renault    178
5    Force India-Mercedes    120
6    Lotus-Mercedes    73
7    Toro Rosso-Renault    66
8    Sauber-Ferrari    36
9    McLaren-Honda    27
10    Marussia-Ferrari    0

Next race: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina. November 27-29.

Rosberg scores fifth consecutive pole in Brazil

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg is on form on Saturday afternoon with a fifth consecutive pole position, beating his team-mate Lewis Hamilton at Interlagos.

Rosberg was quicker than Hamilton throughout the important final part of the qualifying, eventually earning the 21st P1 of his Formula 1 career by just 0.078 seconds.

Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari was third fastest, half a second adrift from the top spot, while the Williams of Valtteri Bottas split Vettel from Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by finding slightly more time on his second run than his fellow countryman.

However, Bottas will take a three-place grid penalty for overtaking under red flags during Friday’s second practice session.

Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top six in his Force India, narrowly quicker than Daniil Kvyat in the best of the Red Bulls.

Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo (running the updated Renault power unit) and Max Verstappen completed the top ten.

Massa and Verstappen hauled themselves into the Q3 shootout with late improvements in Q2, which meant Felipe Nasr’s lap for Sauber was only good enough for P11 on the timesheet.

Carlos Sainz complained of problems with the dashboard and data in his Toro Rosso as he ended up only P12, ahead of the Force India of Sergio Perez, who was a massive 0.662 seconds slower than team-mate Hulkenberg in Q2.

Marcus Ericsson was P14 in the Sauber, followed by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who spun at Ferradura on his crucial lap and then had insufficient tyre life left to get anywhere near making the top ten on his next effort.

The Lotus of Pastor Maldonado and Jenson Button’s McLaren were next, narrowly missing out on making the Q2 cut in a tight battle during the first part of qualifying.

Maldonado was just 0.039 seconds slower than Ericsson’s Sauber in placing P16, while Button reckoned McLaren went “a little bit too far with the front wing” as he ended up P17, just 0.040 seconds further back.

Team-mate Fernando Alonso failed to set a time after his McLaren-Honda broke down with “no power” early on in the session.

The double world champion was therefore classified last, behind the Manor Marussias of Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens, who were separated by just over a tenth of a second.

Qualifying positions, Brazilian Grand Prix:

1    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m11.282s
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m11.360s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m11.804s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m12.144s
5    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m12.265s
6    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m12.322s
7    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m12.085s
8    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m12.415s
9    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m12.739s
10    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m12.989s
11    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m13.045s
12    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m13.147s
13    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m13.233s
14    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m13.913s
15    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m13.385s
16    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m13.425s
17    Alexander Rossi    Marussia-Ferrari    1m16.151s
18    Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    1m16.283s
19    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m12.417s
20    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    No time

Rosberg victorious at Mexico

Nico Rosberg answered his critics with a dominant victory at the Mexican Grand Prix, leading home his team-mate and new champion Lewis Hamilton.

The pole-sitter resisted the challenge from Hamilton at the start and controlled the race throughout, despite a late safety car period which cancelled out Rosberg’s lead to record his fourth win of the season and 12th of his Formula 1 career.

As for new 2005 world champion Hamilton crossed the finishing line second for his 15th podium in 17 races this season with Valtteri Bottas completing the top three.

Such was the pace of the Silver Arrows that they were able to pit for a second time before the safety car came out and still rejoin in front of the rest of the field.

Hamilton questioned the team’s decision to bring him in, as he felt his tyres were in good shape, but Mercedes insisted he had to pit for safety reasons, and he eventually relented.

The result means Rosberg reclaims second in the drivers’ standings after Sebastian Vettel crashed out.

This was a nightmare race for Sebastian Vettel. He started third but collided with his ex-Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo at the first corner and picked up a puncture.

The four-time champion complained about Ricciardo’s driving on team radio but though the stewards investigated the incident, they deemed no further action was necessary.

Vettel recovered to the pits but he had a messy Mexican Grand Prix, spinning at the esses and then crashing out of the race at the same spot when the rear end of the car got away from him – bringing out the safety car.

There was more drama for the Scuderia when Kimi Raikkonen collided with Valtteri Bottas for the second time in three races following their last-lap clash in Sochi.

The Finns went side-by-side into Turn 4 with the Williams front-left hitting Raikkonen’s right-rear and breaking the Ferrari’s suspension.

Raikkonen retired instantly, signalling Ferrari’s first double retirement since the 2006 Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat finished fourth, after losing a place to Bottas on the restart, while Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa completed the top six.

Nico Hulkenberg was seventh, one position ahead of home favourite Sergio Perez, who received rapturous cheers throughout the race and was the only driver who managed to only make one pit-stop.

Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean completed the top ten.

Pastor Maldonado missed out on his fourth consecutive points finish in P11, with Marcus Ericsson, Carlos Sainz Jr, Jenson Button, Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens the other finishers.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso suffered a lack of power just after the start and was told by the team to retire the car at the end of the opening lap.

Shortly before the restart Button radioed his team to say the brakes on Felipe Nasr’s car were on fire and shortly after, the Sauber retired in the 55,000-seater stadium section, reporting his brakes were “finished”.

Mexican Grand Prix, race results after 71 laps:

1    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1:42:35.038
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    +1.954s
3    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    +14.592s
4    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    +16.572s
5    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault     +19.682s
6    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes     +21.493s
7    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    +25.860s
8    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes     +34.343s
9    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault     +35.229s
10    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes     +37.934s
11    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes     +38.538s
12    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari     +40.180s
13    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault     +48.772s
14    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda      +49.214s
15    Alexander Rossi    Marussia-Ferrari     +2 laps
16    Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari     +2 laps
–    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari     DNF
–    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari      DNF
–    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari     DNF
–    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    DNF

Drivers’ standings:

1 Lewis Hamilton 345
1 Nico Rosberg 272
3 Sebastian Vettel 251
4 Valtteri Bottas 126
5 Kimi Raikkonen 123
6 Felipe Massa 117
7 Daniil Kvyat 88
8 Daniel Ricciardo 84
9 Sergio Perez 68
10 Max Verstappen 47
11 Romain Grosjean 45
12 Nico Hulkenberg 44
13 Felipe Nasr 27
14 Pastor Maldonado 26
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
22 Kevin Magnussen 0

Constructors’ standings:

1 Mercedes 617
2 Ferrari 374
3 Williams-Mercedes 243
4 Red Bull-Renault 172
5 Force India-Mercedes 112
6 Lotus-Mercedes 71
7 Toro Rosso-Renault 65
8 Sauber-Ferrari 36
9 McLaren-Honda 27
10 Marussia-Ferrari 0

Next race: Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos. November 13-15.