Ros­berg foils Hamil­ton to claim maiden ti­tle

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Ger­man driver Nico Ros­berg held his nerve to win the For­mula One cham­pi­onship for the first time af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond at the sea­son-end­ing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix yesteer­day.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Lewis Hamil­ton won the race from pole po­si­tion for his 53rd GP win. Ros­berg was 12 points ahead of his team­mate com­ing into the ti­tle show­down and only needed to fin­ish third, even if Hamil­ton won.

Hamil­ton bla­tantly dis­obeyed team or­ders to speed up near the end, thus back­ing Ros­berg to­ward Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Max Ver­stap­pen in third and fourth places, re­spec­tively. Vet­tel could not quite pass Ros­berg and he fin­ished third ahead of Ver­stap­pen. Hav­ing fin­ished run­ner-up for the past two sea­sons, the 31-year-old Ros­berg fi­nally em­u­lates his fa­ther Keke Ros­berg, who won the F1 ti­tle in 1982. “That was def­i­nitely not the most en­joy­able race I’ve had. Can’t be­lieve it’s over. I’m ec­static,” Ros­berg said.

Hamil­ton, mean­while, misses out a third straight ti­tle and fourth over­all, de­spite end­ing the year with 10 wins - one more than Ros­berg. Hamil­ton slowed in the later stages of the race to in­crease the chances of Ros­berg be­ing over­taken by other driv­ers. If Ros­berg had been passed by Vet­tel and Ver­stap­pen and had fin­si­hed fourth, then Hamil­ton would have held onto his ti­tle.

When his team told him over race ra­dio to up the tempo, Hamil­ton replied bluntly: “I sug­gest you guys let us race.” Even a di­rect or­der from Mercedes’ ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Paddy Lowe four laps from the end did not work. Ros­berg was clearly get­ting ner­vous, and Vet­tel was a wheel’s length away from him on the fi­nal lap. But he kept his cool and his ela­tion was ev­i­dent as he let out a de­lighted screech of “Yes! World cham­pion” when he crossed the line.

Then he jumped out of his car and danced around the track be­fore be­ing hugged by his me­chan­ics. Hamil­ton made a point of com­ing over to con­grat­u­late Ros­berg and of­fered him a hug. Ros­berg ac­cepted but it was a brief one, and then he car­ried on cel­e­brat­ing as he was tossed into the air by his Mercedes crew. He then grabbed For­mula One supremo Bernie Ec­cle­stone and lifted him into the air, while Ec­cle­stone con­grat­u­lated him.

Hamil­ton stood in the cor­ner sip­ping wa­ter as Vet­tel - him­self a four-time F1 cham­pion - smiled and con­grat­u­lated Ros­berg. — AP

ABU DHABI: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s Ger­man driver Nico Ros­berg (front) cel­e­brates at the end of the Abu Dhabi For­mula One Grand Prix at the Yas Ma­rina cir­cuit yes­ter­day. Nico Ros­berg won his maiden For­mula One world ti­tle by se­cur­ing sec­ond place be­hind his Mercedes arch-ri­val Lewis Hamil­ton in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. — AFP ABU DHABI:

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