Nico Rosberg sealed the world drivers championship by finishing second to Lewis Hamilton for the fourth consecutive time since his win at the Japanese Grand Prix. While Sebastian Vettel delivered a podium for Ferrari in the final race of the season with a late charge on super-soft tires overtaking both Red Bulls.
You have to say it was a dull race overall; Hamilton trying to back Rosberg into the chasing pack, Max Verstappen spinning coming out of turn one on lap one to recover to finish fourth, jumping ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo by staying out for 22 laps while Ricciardo pitted on lap 9. And finally, Vettel’s late charge through the pack on super-soft tires, that’s the story of the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton has received significant criticism for his actions during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, backing Rosberg into the chasing pack and ignoring direct team instructions. Personally, I don’t blame him; why should he do anything to help his title rival? They’re racing drivers, not best buddies on a road trip.
The other talking point is did Red Bull disadvantage Ricciardo, intentionally or otherwise by pitting him so early compared to his team mate, Verstappen who was running significantly behind on the road at the time of the stops? I think it’s safe to say that decision swung the inter-team battle in the Dutchman’s favor.
More significantly, Abu Dhabi marked the final race of two of the old guard; McLaren’s Jenson Button and Williams’ Felipe Massa who between them started 555 Grand Prix, claimed 26 wins and 91 podiums.
Personally I will miss Jenson Button; I’m sad that he didn’t take Williams up on their offer for a drive in 2017; but that said; I could see that Jenson’s heart was not in it during 2016. Button himself said that he regretted not announcing his retirement before the British Grand Prix; I guess this was brought on by the emotional response of the Brazilian crowd for Felipe Massa at Interlagos two weeks ago.
I’ll be happy to see the back of the 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix season; like the two seasons beforehand, 2016 was a forgone conclusion with Mercedes dominating proceedings claiming an easy constructors title victory and one of their drivers was guaranteed the world drivers title such was their dominance.
That’s about all I have to say about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and season overall, this season has been a disappointment; dominance of one team makes the sport very dull; not to mention the accustomed FIA bureaucracy and inconsistency; and who can forget the qualifying debacle at the start of the season.
I’m hoping that 2017 and the new regulations will rejuvenate the sport, I can’t bare more of the same.