Nothing but pride left to race for in Abu Dhabi
With both titles decided, there is a slight anticlimax to the Abu Dhabi GP, as there is little but pride to play for, although pride is one thing both Mercedes drivers have in abundance.
Although Lewis Hamilton is the deserved 2015 world champion, it is his team-mate, Nico Rosberg, who is ending the campaign on a high.
The German arrived at the Yas Marina circuit after a run of five pole positions and two race wins. However, if you were to ask Hamilton, it was Mercedes who helped his team-mate to those victories.
Falling behind Rosberg at the start in Mexico and Brazil, Mercedes refused to put Hamilton on an alternate strategy, meaning he spent both races trailing the sister W06 with no hope of passing.
A boring Brazilian 1-2 that was in Rosberg’s favour led to Hamilton and others saying teams needed to shake up their strategies.
But whether Mercedes – with nothing to lose and nothing to gain – will be open to doing so today remains to be seen.
The board may want the 1-2, and Mercedes does have to answer to the powers that pay, but fans want racing. Isn’t it time to answer to them? Although the Yas Marina circuit is yet another track on which the all-conquering W06 should excel, the use of the soft and supersoft Pirelli tyres could help Ferrari enter the mix. All three of Sebastian Vettel’s 2015 victories have come using that tyre combination. Ferrari will be hoping to take the fight to Mercedes so that it can continue to build a solid platform on which to launch a 2016 title bid.
There is, however, one small matter of position four for the Scuderia’s Kimi Räikkönen to race for.
He may say that nothing but first counts, but fourth is still better than fifth – just ask his rival Valtteri Bottas. The Finns have provided some of the best entertainment in recent races, as they have twice clashed on the track. With just one point separating them in the standings, they may take chances today that could end in joy for one and heartbreak for the other.
A top-10 finish in the championship is also up for grabs, with three points separating Nico Hülkenberg, Romain Grosjean and Max Verstappen. All three have good cause for wanting the 10th position, but only one will be smiling after today’s 55 laps.
As the sun sets on Abu Dhabi this evening, the 2015 Formula 1 season will draw to a close.
It was a year of Mercedes domination, Ferrari revival, Red Bull angst, teenage revelations and a victorious Hamilton.
ON TOP OF THE WORLD Mercedes’
Lewis Hamilton celebrates his status as