Mercedes Driver Nico Rosberg Takes Third Consecutive Win
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has clinched his third consecutive win of the season, after dominating the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from pole.
The German adopted a two-stop strategy, like the vast majority of competitors, using a supersoft-soft-soft strategy. With Rosberg making his pit stops before his team mate Lewis Hamilton (on an identical strategy, but with a very long second stint) he was effectively in control of the tactics, ensuring his lead.
Both Mercedes were threatened however by Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen finished on the podium from third on the grid while an alternative strategy allowed Sebastian Vettel to take fourth place after starting from 15th on the grid. Vettel completed two opening stints on the soft, gaining track position while all the supersoft runners stopped, before completing his own supersoft stint for 16 laps at the end of the race, in cooler track temperatures and with a much lighter car. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean also finished in the points after starting on the soft tire.
The top 10 all used a two-stop strategy. Wear and degradation were within limits, to the point where even Lewis Hamilton – chasing his team mate for victory – questioned on team radio whether or not he needed to make a second stop at all. Then he made the pit stop, after a 30-lap middle stint on the soft tires.
The highest-placed three-stopper was Max Verstappen, who finished outside the points following a flat-spot earlier in the race and then a penalty.
A one-two for Mercedes has broken another record for the ultra-successful German team: it is now the team to have scored most points in a Formula One season.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “As usual, Abu Dhabi delivered another very tactical race, during which Mercedes and Nico Rosberg in particular controlled the strategy perfectly. Congratulations to the entire team for the most dominant season in Formula One history, looking at the points scored. Tire wear and degradation was well within control, even though we were using the two softest compounds in the range at Abu Dhabi, which enabled some entertaining battles all the way to the end of the race. Our 2016 season now starts in just 48 hours time when we embark on a 12-hour test throughout Tuesday, during which we will be testing the new ultrasoft tire as well as new constructions for 2016.”