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Winners and Losers - Abu Dhabi

30 Nov 2015

The best thing to end a season with? Probably a world championship, as Yas Marina runner-up Lewis Hamilton pointed out. Second best, however, must be momentum - something his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg has in spades after scoring his sixth successive pole and third consecutive win over the weekend. Others leaving Abu Dhabi happy included Force India, who secured their best-ever championship finish, and Jenson Button, who revelled in his battling race for McLaren. Among the less content were first-corner retiree Pastor Maldonado, and Max Verstappen, a lowly 16th after not one, but two time penalties for driving offences. We take a team-by-team look back at Sunday's 2015 finale…

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, P1
Lewis Hamilton, P2

Rosberg had his hat-trick in the bag from the moment he left the start line, but Hamilton pushed him as hard as he could. The Englishman tried a different strategy by running 10 laps longer on his second set of soft Pirelli tyres, having hoped at one stage that he might even get the first set to the finish, but was dissuaded from trying that by his engineers. He cut a 12.5s deficit to 6.8s before being blocked by Verstappen for a lap, and eventually finished 8.2 s adrift as Mercedes scored their 12th one-two of the year.

Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen, P3
Sebastian Vettel, P4

Vettel’s race would always be subservient to Raikkonen’s here. The Finn drove very well to take the final podium slot after starting on supersofts and doing two stints on softs, and his only real problem was when the right front wheel was sticky during his second pit stop. Vettel started on softs and a long first stint helped him to his eventual fourth, as his strategy called for supersofts from the 39th lap to the finish. That worked perfectly as the team maximised their score.

Force India

Sergio Perez, P5
Nico Hulkenberg, P7

Perez was on great form and thoroughly deserved his fifth place after race-long pressure from Ricciardo’s Red Bull. Hulkenberg said he was disappointed with only seventh, not quite able to match his team mate’s pace. It nevertheless capped a strong end to Force India’s best-ever season.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, P6
Daniil Kvyat, P10

Ricciardo did everything he could to keep the pressure on Perez and was pleased with his sixth place. Further back, Kvyat had likewise hounded Hulkenberg, but eventually fell back when electronic problems hampered his progress.

Williams

Felipe Massa, P8
Valtteri Bottas, P13

Williams’ performance was hugely disappointing after last year’s effort here. Massa had a strong start to his race but was generally not able to challenge anyone thereafter, and only just resisted the supersoft-shod Grosjean in the final laps. Bottas made a terrible start, then was unsafely released into Button’s path on the eighth lap. That meant a stop for a new nose, and another to serve a five-second penalty.

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, P9
Pastor Maldonado, Retired lap 1, hit by Alonso

Grosjean had to fight up after a five-place post-qualifying grid penalty was levied for a gearbox change. Like Vettel, he started on softs and ended on supersofts, which enabled him to gobble up Sainz and Kvyat and snatch two points in his final outing for the team. Maldonado was the innocent victim when his E23 Hybrid was hit by Alonso at the first corner just after the start.

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz, P11
Max Verstappen, P16

Sainz had the better race and was unlucky that Grosjean was able to catch and pass him in the closing laps, thus denying him a point. Verstappen had an adventurous race. He needed a stop to replace badly flat-spotted tyres, then got a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits while racing hard with Button, and another 20-second penalty after blocking Hamilton in the closing laps. That dropped him from 12th on the road to 16th.

McLaren

Jenson Button, P12
Fernando Alonso, P17

Button had what he described as his best race of the season, taking a fighting 12th after battles with Verstappen and Ericsson. Alonso had the race from hell; he hit Nasr approaching the first corner which pushed him into Maldonado. That delayed both and earned the Spaniard a drive-through penalty. He struggled thereafter and at one stage threatened to give up, but when running supersoft in the closing stages he set the race’s third fastest lap.

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson, P14
Felipe Nasr, P15

Both drivers struggled to maintain midfield pace, and Nasr damaged his nose after contact with Alonso at the first corner, pushing him into Maldonado.

Marussia

Will Stevens, P18
Roberto Merhi, P19

Neither driver had any real problems, as an era drew to a close with the last race for team founders Graeme Lowdon and John Booth.


WATCH: Race highlights from Abu Dhabi

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