YAS ISLAND, Abu Dhabi – Not even missing out on the pole to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in a double-points Formula One finale could stop Lewis Hamilton from winning both the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and his second F-1 World Championship on Sunday.
Hamilton entered the last race of the season with a 17-point lead, but with 50 points available to the winner, Rosberg could’ve won from the pole and clinched the title if Hamilton finished outside the top two.
Instead, Rosberg was the one who encountered trouble. His energy-recovery system malfunctioned on lap 26 of the 55-lap race, which robbed the German of much-needed engine power after he’d already lost the lead.
Rosberg also faced brake issues past the halfway point in a race that could have delivered him his first title. He finished the race one lap down in 14th.
Hamilton was kept abreast of Rosberg’s issues as he held onto the top spot from the start of the race. The Briton handled Rosberg off the line at the beginning of the race and left no doubt as to which Mercedes driver would score the title by winning his 11th race of the season.
It’s Hamilton’s first World Championship since 2008, when he was a second-year driver with McLaren.
“World Champion! I can’t believe it,” Hamilton said on the radio as British Prince Harry congratulated the champion.
Felipe Massa capped off a solid season for Williams by finishing second, with his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, rounding out the podium in third.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo – who finished third in points – was fourth in the race. McLaren’s Jenson Button, in what may be his final F-1 start after a 15-year career, was fifth.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were sixth and seventh. Four-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel was eighth in his last race for Red Bull before moving to Ferrari to replace ninth-place finisher Fernando Alonso. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top 10.
“I can’t really explain how much this means, it means more than the first (title),” Hamilton said.
“The car was fantastic. We really got it spot-on for the race.”