The Mercedes driver takes victory in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, even as team-mate and rival Nico Rosberg runs into trouble and limps across the line outside the points
Abu Dhabi: Lewis Hamilton clinched his second Formula One world championship by taking victory in yesterday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, even as rival Nico Rosberg ran into trouble and was forced to limp across the line outside the points.
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the World Championship and the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Hamilton crossed the line 2.5 seconds ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa, to take his eleventh win of the season and a record 16th victory this year for Mercedes, as his father Anthony and girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, who had arrived just that morning, watched on.
Valtteri Bottas made it two Williams cars on the podium in third. Rosberg crossed the line only 14th after the hybrid systems of his Mercedes power unit failed causing him to lose power and drop down the field. Mercedes asked him to return to the pits to retire the car, but Rosberg, who had given himself the best chance of taking the title by snatching pole position in qualifying, insisted on carrying on.
The win, worth 50 points, means Hamilton claims the world championship by 67 points from Rosberg after having won 11 races to the German's five. Daniel Ricciardo clinches third in his first season for Red Bull, while Bottas ends the season fourth.
"World Champion! Oh my God, can't believe it!" Hamilton, who last won the championship with McLaren in 2008, just his second season in Formula One, exclaimed over the radio. "This is the greatest day of my life," he said later on the podium. "2008 was a special time in my life. The feeling I have now is way, way beyond that.
"It means even more than the first one, it feels like it's the first time," he said, voice cracking with emotion. "It's kind of hard to soak all this up."
Hamilton held the edge on Rosberg going into yesterday's race with the Briton heading his former friend by 17 points. But with the race worth double points meaning a maximum 50 were up for grabs, the title race remained wide open.
Hamilton, starting alongside pole-sitter Rosberg, rocketed off the line to seize the lead as soon as the lights went off.
Rosberg, after fending off a fast-starting Massa, slotted into second and shadowed his team-mate, the gap between the Mercedes pair never more than three seconds.
But with the race nearing the half-distance mark, Rosberg suddenly began to drop back, losing multiple seconds to Hamilton and radioed in to report the loss of power.
"Hi Nico, it's Paddy, sorry it didn't work out today," Mercedes executive director Paddy Lowe, said to Rosberg over the radio on the slow-down lap as cheering sounded in the background.
"You drove like a champion all year. We'll come back next year and have another go."
Rosberg and Hamilton have been locked in a closely-fought and often bitter battle for the title that has driven the two childhood friends apart in a season dominated by Mercedes.
However, despite his disappointment at losing out Rosberg went up to Hamilton after the race and offered him a congratulatory hug.
"You know, Nico put on an incredible fight throughout the year," Hamilton said.
"He was a phenomenal competitor. "We always said it would be amazing racing for the same team and fighting for the world championship."