Lewis Hamilton is F1 champion
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Lewis Hamilton answered Nico Rosberg’s pre-race goading in defiant style, winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix today as he clinched a second Formula One title and denied his brash-talking Mercedes teammate his first.
The days leading up to the race saw an upbeat Rosberg talking openly about how he fully intended to make Hamilton crack under pressure.
That resulted in the onus to deliver falling on Rosberg – Hamilton’s childhood friend and teenage go-karting rival – and match his pre-race fighting talk with equally aggressive driving.
It never happened, and the German driver’s dismal race saw him place a lowly 14th after he failed to recover from a poor start.
Hamilton, the 2008 F1 champion, entered the race with a 17-point lead over his rival, needing only a top-two finish to guarantee the title.
But he was never even tested and the highly anticipated duel under floodlights never happened.
“Woooooo-hoooooo, world champion I can’t believe it! Thank you so much guys,” Hamilton screamed over race radio, before grabbing a Union Jack flag and waving it above his car as his mechanics celebrated wildly.
“It’s hard to soak all of this up. So much pressure,” the 29-year-old Hamilton said. “I didn’t sleep last night. I went for a run and had a massage, I thought I would be tired, but somehow I felt composed for the race.”
He kept his helmet on for several minutes, appearing to wipe away tears, as the emotion of his hard-fought championship win started to sink in.
Brazilian driver Felipe Massa crossed the line in second place ahead of his Williams teammate Valtteri Bottas, while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo drove superbly to finish fourth despite starting from the back of the grid alongside teammate Sebastian Vettel, who finished eighth.
In total, Hamilton scored 384 points, with Rosberg notching 317 and Ricciardo third with 238.