Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix 2015 Results: Winner, Standings, Highlights and Reaction

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2015

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany leads his teammate Lewis Hamilton of Britain andd Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland during the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina racetrack in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Luca Bruno/Associated Press

Nico Rosberg of Mercedes won the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday after a fascinating duel with team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the final race of the season.

The German's quicker switch to soft tyres proved pivotal to the result, as Hamilton reacted slower to the technical change.

Formula One confirmed the race result on social media:

Formula 1 @F1

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION after penalties for Max Verstappen #AbuDhabiGP #F1Finale https://t.co/oSAeD2nGez

Here are the final world championship standings for the season, confirming Hamilton's place at the summit:

F1 World Championship: Final Standings

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg leads after the start of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit on November 29, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / TOM GANDOLFINI / AFP / Tom Gandolfini        (Photo credit should read TO

Rosberg started his race perfectly as he shot off the line to lead Hamilton, whose Mercedes was immediately put under pressure from an aggressive Kimi Raikkonen.

There was contact between Pastor Maldonado and Fernando Alonso, which ended the former's race prematurely. Alonso damaged his front wing and had to immediately retreat back to the pits for emergency work.

The Daily Mirror's Byron Young called the action of the opening moments, as Alonso was punished for his misdemeanours:

Byron Young @byronf1

Lewis was lucky at that start, with a little more daring Kimi could surely have had second #f1

Byron Young @byronf1

Wow, Alonso penalty ! You don't see many of those. #f1

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 29:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 29, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Alonso was given a drive-through penalty as Rosberg maintained his lead over Hamilton through the opening laps. He remained two seconds ahead of the world champion, with Raikkonen a further three seconds down on the Silver Arrows pair. 

Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg consistently vied for position, with the Red Bull driver winning their personal battle after they exchanged places.

Valtteri Bottas and Jenson Button also made contact in the pits, as Bottas caught the back of the McLaren as it came into the garage.

Formula One's official Twitter account shared the moment:

Formula 1 @F1

VIDEO: Bottas collides with Button in the pitlane >> https://t.co/RWj84OqFuK #AbuDhabiGP https://t.co/4J47bqBd8W

Sebastian Vettel battled through the field after his failures in qualifying, and the former world champion was soon in the upper echelons of the leading pack. 

However, it was Vettel's team-mate who was putting in one of the performances of the day, as Raikkonen showed an impressive turn of pace in the first half of the race as he rolled back the years.

The Ferrari driver saw his best lap time get beaten only by Hamilton after 23 laps:

Formula 1 @F1

FASTEST LAPS Hammer time? Hamilton pops up top with a 1:46.744 #AbuDhabiGP #F1Finale https://t.co/qqC24bwc2g

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 29:  Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on No
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Hamilton nibbled at Rosberg's lead through the race, and F1 legend Nigel Mansell promised the world champion would soon attempt an audacious move to usurp the race leader:

Nigel Mansell CBE @nigelmansell

Getting interesting with tyres now with Nico and Lewis .Lewis will make a move in 2::3 laps .

Rosberg's switch to soft tyres swung the advantage back his way, and he began to lap more than half-a-second quicker than Hamilton. The lead soon extended to 12 seconds before the Brit changed his tyres and once again began to make inroads on the German.

Formula One highlighted the positions late in the race:

Formula 1 @F1

LAP 44/55: 1 ROS (2 stops) 2 HAM +11.8 (2 stops) 3 RAI +18.2 (2 stops) 4 PER +43.9 (2 stops) 5 VET +47.0 (2 stops) #AbuDhabiGP #F1Finale

The Brit cut a second off his team-mate per lap, and the race was on to catch the leader in a dramatic final shootout of the season.

Seven laps from the end, Hamilton was 7.7 seconds behind Rosberg, but the German was flying as he tried to hold out on old tyres. However, it was too little, too late for the champion, as he backed off in the final moments, unable to catch the competing Mercedes in front of him. 

Rosberg made it three wins in a row, ending the season on a high, as Mercedes once again proved they will be the team to beat next year.

The German claimed he is already prepared for next season's battle, as he collected the winner's trophy on the podium, per F1:

Formula 1 @F1

ROSBERG: "I'm excited about how the end of the season went. Next year can come any moment - it can start tomorrow!" https://t.co/3NOWKDFvfL

Rosberg proved he can match Hamilton on the track in the final races of the season, but the Brit has not been at his best after becoming a three-time world champion.

Hamilton's team-mate has appeared more motivated than ever in the last weeks of the championship and will once again be the most likely to terminate Mercedes' dominance of the sport.

However, Ferrari will be strong at the advent of the new campaign, and Vettel and Raikkonen have the pedigree and experience to realistically challenge for the world championship in 2016. 


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