Abu Dhabi Grand Prix- That's a Wrap
The F1 season finished in Abu Dhabi and the question that began from the first race back in Australia was finally answered, which Mercedes driver would claim the championship?
The Mercedes duo of Rosberg and Hamilton were absolutely dominant the entire season. In all but two races, a Mercedes car would cross the finish line in first place and in even in the two races they didn’t win they still would be on the podium. The upside to this total dominance was that the championship came down the last race as the ebb and flow of success for Rosberg and Hamilton would see each of them gain and lose the advantage throughout the season.
The race result in Abu Dhabi was almost a microcosm of the whole season. Rosberg’s plotting and strategy as always would hold his second position from the start knowing that even with a Hamilton win he only needed to finish on the podium to win the race. Hamilton would be heavily criticized for the way he raced, in that he slowed down the pace in an effort to back Rosberg into the clutches of Red Bull and Ferrari. Radio messages clearly indicated the team was concerned that his pace was so slow that it would not only jeopardize Rosberg’s race but might cost Hamilton the win. Hamilton played the only card he had. Backing Rosberg into traffic was a smart move and it was his only chance to possible win the title.
It’s hard to fault someone for fighting up until the last second. The fault is that Hamilton, rather than admit that it was his last chance to win, would go into pouty face mode after the race, and several times implying that Rosberg really only won the title because of reliability. Yeah, that’s how it goes. F1 is the cutting edge of technology pushing the limits of man and machine so reliability is always a factor in a championship.
***WARNING...EXTREME BIAS ZONE***
The cherry on top for the race, and the season, was the amazing charge by Sebs after Ferrari executed an unorthodox pit strategy to give Vettel a set of Super Softs. It was one last chance to salvage anything good from the 2016 season for us weary Tifosi. We watched about the last 20 laps as Vettel flogged his weary SF16-H around the circuit much the way Max Verstappen drove in Brazil. With our hearts in our throats, we longed to see what we'd hope to see all season....a Ferrari driver on the top step of the podium. Alas, the fates were not on our side and Vettel was only able to secure the third spot (but massive props for the supreme effort). We will go into the 2017 season much the same way we have the last few...you know, like last night was a helluva bad bender, and hopefully today will be a better day.
While getting this post ready for publication news broke this morning that Nico Rosberg is leaving F1 on top. Rosberg announced his retirement from Formula 1 effective immediately.
Hamilton not willing to let it go without a parting shot at Nico:
"The sport will miss him but I wish him all the best. I am sure it is a surprise to many people. I am probably the only person who thought it was not a surprise because I've known him a long time, but this is motor racing," Hamilton said.
"This is the first time he has won in 18 years, hence why it was not a surprise that he decided to stop.
Now the pressing question is who will replace Rosberg. Could we see Alonso paired back up with Hamilton? Hmmm, very interesting times indeed.