Abu Dhabi GP: a decent send-off to 2015

Nico Rosberg was dominant once again as the lights went out for the final time in 2015.

Coming off the back of the lacklustre Brazil GP, the first lap of the race gave us something to get our heart rates up.

Hamilton had a slow getaway, allowing Rosberg to sail off into the distance. Fernando Alonso came together with Pastor Maldanado before the first corner, sending the Venezuelan for an early shower (and for once, he was the innocent victim).

The first five cars stayed as they were, with Nico Hulkenberg being the main winner, jumping to 5th place.  The star of the start was Carlos Sainz Jr, who managed to overtake 3 cars in two corners.

Let’s go racing…

There were many close scrapes amongst drivers: Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg swapping places on lap 7; Button on Erikkson; Kvyat on Erikkson; and Verstappen on Button.

Vallterri Bottas had an absolute dog of a race, after colliding with Jenson Button in the pit lane and having to return to the pits twice due to that incident alone, and ultimately finished 13th after a retrospective penalty was handed to Max Verstappen.

Drive of the race

Sebastian Vettel recovered well from his abysmal qualifying, coming through from 15th to finish 4th.

Romain Grosjean ended his 10 year tenure with Lotus in 9th after also having a difficult qualifying yesterday, securing 6th place in the constructors for the team.

Max Verstappen had some brilliant moments, however made a mistake and flat-spotted his tyre, forcing him to change onto a slower, three-stop strategy. After his brilliant battle with Button, he was handed a penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, then handed another for ignoring blue flags.

I knew as soon as I locked up it was going to be a difficult race – Max talking to BBC’s Lee McKenzie

Hamilton has a cheeky tweak of his settings

Hamilton’s race engineer came over the radio to inform him that if he did not turn down his engine, they would duly ramp up Nico’s. He ignored them, Nico’s engine was turned up, Hamilton relented, Nico’s was turned down.

Danke und Aufwiedersehen…

Rosberg heads into the winter break having dominated the final three races, denying Hamilton of both his 50th pole position and his 44th victory. It may not have been a spectacular season, but it sets us up for a cracking 2016. And somehow, despite its flaws, Formula One finishes with at least one new fan: having (willingly!) watched the Singapore GP qualifying and race, our newbie has now enjoyed several of the final races (and correctly predicted the first, and only, retirement of the Abu Dhabi GP).

Only 112 days to go…

Results

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Nico ROSBERG
Lewis HAMILTON
Kimi RAIKKONEN
Sebastian VETTEL
Sergio PEREZ
Daniel RICCIARDO
Nico HULKENBERG
Felipe MASSA
Romain GROSJEAN
Danill KVYAT
Carlos SAINZ JR
Jenson BUTTON
Valtteri BOTTAS
Marcus ERIKKSON
Felipe NASSR
Max VERSTAPPEN
Fernando ALONSO
Will STEVENS
Roberto MEHRI
Mercedes
Mercedes
Ferrari
Ferrari
Force India
Red Bull
Force India
Williams
Lotus
Red Bull
Toro Rosso
McLaren
Williams
Sauber
Sauber
Toro Rosso
McLaren
Manor
Manor
DNF: Pastor Maldanado, Lotus

Twitter winner: Mark Webber

Provisional 2016 calendar

Australian GP
Bahrain GP
Chinese GP
Russian GP
Spanish GP
Monaco GP
Canadian GP
Azerbaijan GP
Austrian GP
British GP
Hungarian GP
German GP
Belgian GP
Italian GP
Singapore GP
Malaysian GP
Japanese GP
US GP
Mexican GP
Brazilian GP
Abu Dhabi GP
20th March
3rd April
17th April
1st May
15th May
29th May
12th June
19th June
3rd July
10th July
24th July
31st July
28th August
4th September
18th September
2nd October
9th October
23rd October
6th November
13rd November
27th November

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