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Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix 2016 Results: Winner, Standings, Highlights and Reaction

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 27, 2016

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg celebrates at the end of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit on November 27, 2016.
Nico Rosberg won his maiden Formula One world title by securing second place behind his Mercedes arch-rival Lewis Hamilton in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. / AFP / Andrej ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)
ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/Getty Images

Nico Rosberg was crowned 2016 Formula One champion on Sunday after a second-place finish in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix secured top spot in the drivers' standings, where he finished five points ahead of Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton kept Rosberg at arm's reach, reneging on team orders to speed up his efforts in an attempt to increase his team-mate's chance of missing out on the top-three finish he needed to secure the title—but to no avail.

It was a long and tense end to the season for Rosberg, but he eventually showed his excitement at a maiden Formula One championship, per Mercedes AMG's official Twitter account:

Mercedes-AMG F1 @MercedesAMGF1

📻 "Thank you so much guys!!! Childhood dream come true!!! YEEEEESSSSSS!!!!" #F1Finale #AbuDhabiGP #F1

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished third and fourth, respectively, despite their best efforts to stop Rosberg clinching his maiden world championship 34 years after his father, Keke, pulled off the same feat.

It was a dour day for Jenson Button of McLaren, however, after he was forced into retirement earlier than hoped following a suspension failure just 13 laps into his Abu Dhabi outing.

Here's a look at the final classification from the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, provided courtesy of Formula One's official Twitter account:

Formula 1 @F1

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION: Got your breath back yet? Here's how the #AbuDhabiGP, and the 2016 season, finished... #F1Finale https://t.co/2RWDWl6HY0

And here's how the final drivers' standings look at the end of the 2016 campaign:

2016 Formula 1 Final Drivers' Standings
PositionDriverTeamPoints
1Nico RosbergMercedes385
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes380
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull256
4Sebastian VettelFerrari212
5Max VerstappenRed Bull204
6Kimi RaikkonenFerrari186
7Sergio PerezForce India101
8Valtteri BottasWilliams85
9Nico HulkenbergForce India72
10Fernando AlonsoMcLaren54
11Felipe MassaWilliams53
12Carlos SainzToro Rosso46
13Romain GrosjeanHaas29
14Daniil KvyatToro Rosso25
15Jenson ButtonMcLaren21
16Kevin MagnussenRenault7
17Felipe NasrSauber2
18Jolyon PalmerRenault1
19Pascal WehrleinManor Racing1
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1
21Esteban GutierrezHaas0
22Marcus EricssonSauber0
23Esteban OconWilliams-Mercedes0
24Rio HaryantoWilliams-Mercedes0
Formula1.com

      

Recap

Both Hamilton and Rosberg got off to solid starts on Sunday as Kimi Raikkonen took his place behind the front-runners, but a spin from Verstappen added some early drama to events.

The Dutchman can always be relied upon to bring a bit of spice to proceedings, and Formula One writer Chris Medland saw the development as a positive in terms of the competition it brought to the fore:

Chris Medland @ChrisMedlandF1

Verstappen's spin has just made this race more exciting. Inadvertently means he's ahead of Rosberg and holding him off. #F1

The Red Bull starlet went about reviving his race from way back in 22nd and was making good progress, too, making his way up to 13th by the time the race was into its sixth lap.

Meanwhile, Renault's Kevin Magnussen was the first early retirement of the day due to front-wing damage, and F1 on NBC Sports noted that also brought about the end of his time with the manufacturer:

F1 on NBC Sports @F1onNBCSports

Magnussen's out for Renault, thus ending his Renault career before his switch to Haas next season. #F1onNBC #AbuDhabiGP

Valtteri Bottas was the next to be forced into an early exit, thus meaning any chance Williams had of leapfrogging Force India into fourth in the constructors' standings rested solely on Felipe Massa in his last F1 outing.

And the retirement didn't end there, either, as British fans were dealt a blow after learning one of their own, Button, had suffered a suspension failure that meant an underwhelming end to his career, per Sky Sports F1:

Sky Sports F1 🏎 @SkySportsF1

RETIRED: Farewell Jenson Button and thankyou. Sky F1 for the #DuelintheDesert now: https://t.co/je9A6SVUfd https://t.co/It2S5ucFHN

Compatriot Hamilton was busy making major progress elsewhere, however, and continued to set fastest lap times with Rosberg and Raikkonen in pursuit, although it wasn't long until Verstappen waded his way into the race for second.

All the top guns pitted early on to transition to softs, and Rosberg began to show glimpses of his championship credentials around 30 laps into the action:

Formula 1 @F1

FASTEST LAPS (after 25 laps) Rosberg on the charge after clearing Verstappen #AbuDhabiGP #F1Finale https://t.co/fOaOC6dC9r

But the contention for top spot was widespread, with Vettel, Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen and Red Bull star Daniel Ricciardo all vying for the top places.

Rosberg's pit on the 30th lap opened the way for Vettel to become the first non-Mercedes driver to lead the race, while the Red Bull pair of Verstappen and Ricciardo, simmering around fifth and sixth, were the fastest pair on the track.

It was near the climax of the 42nd lap that Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz was hit from behind by Renault's Jolyon Palmer, a clash that eventually forced the former out of contention with gearbox damage.

Vettel ultimately sacrificed his lead to change onto the supersofts heading into the race's final 10 laps, leaving Hamilton to reclaim his lead, although Pirelli affirmed the German's decision was a logical one:

Pirelli Motorsport @pirellisport

New supersoft for #Seb5: best decision to be sure of getting to the end with optimal performance.

Hamilton was once again flying far ahead of Rosberg, with Verstappen and Ricciardo behind, in that order, and it seemed only a matter of just how far the standings leader would finish behind his Mercedes team-mate.

The Briton's tactics were to keep a gap between him and Rosberg, but not so much of a distance that his peers didn't have a chance of overtaking the German, thus increasing his chances of retaining his world title. Hamilton's focus was unshakeable, too, as noted by German outlet DW Sports:

DW Sports @dw_sports

Mercedes tell Hamilton he needs a 45.1 lap to win. The driver responds: "I suggest you let us race." #AbuDhabiGP

Mercedes did their best from the garage to ensure Rosberg had a fair shot at the 2016 title, although Hamilton didn't appear intent on paying his warnings much heed with mere seconds separating the top three:

Formula 1 @F1

📻"Lewis, this is Paddy. We need you to pick up the pace to win this race" 📻"I'm in the lead right now. I'm quite comfortable where I am" https://t.co/CmepAo1Nrn

Rosberg could have risked his top-three status and made the plunge for first, but cooler heads prevailed—even if chatter on the team radio suggested otherwise—as he sealed second to claim the global crown at the age of 31.

Hamilton may have his share of questions to answer from Mercedes and whether his performance benefited the team at all, but Rosberg will care little in the end after scooping his first world title.

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