The controversy rumbled on from Mexico to Brazil, as teams arrived in Suo Paulo the news was that Ferrari were launching an appeal over Vettel’s penalty. Ferrari claimed that they had new evidence and following a case to the stewards, the GPS evidence that Ferrari had was rejected.
A steward said “In relation to the GPS data, we note that this data is available to teams during the race. It is also available to, and referred to by, the stewards, in the Stewards Room during the race.”
Mercedes looked in fine form in qualifying, the battle between Hamilton and Rosberg was as close as ever but it was Hamilton who had the slight edge over the German. They both were ahead clearly of the Red Bulls and Ferrari’s, Raikkonen was ahead of Vettel and Verstappen. Massa would start his last home race thirteenth.
Conditions were appalling come race day, this always tended to play to Hamilton but the question was could it and everyone else keep it on track. By the start we had already lost Grosjean, who crash after spinning his Haas on the way to the grid causing the start to be delayed.
Hamilton pulled away taking victory, it was even difficult for him with the torrential rain lashing down on circuit.
After controversy in Mexico, it was a fantastic race for Verstappen. The Dutchman pulled off some amazing passes and the save of the century after getting caught out on the start straight unbelievably keeping it out of the wall to finish third.
It was an emotional end to his career at the race he was calling his ‘final’ Grand Prix for Massa, the two times winner here crashed into the pit wall and into retirement. This prompted a round of applause, cheers as an emotional Massa draped in the Brazilian flag and in tears as he walked down the pit lane and into ‘retirement’.
Raikkonen was another casualty of the pit wall, the Fin crashed on the first restart shattering debris across the track bringing out the red flag. While it was heart break for Massa, for Nasr and Sabuer it was joy as he scored crucial points for the team allowing the team to leapfrog Manor in the championship on count back.
But Hamilton’s win would see the title go to Abu Dhabi and Dual in the Desert II!
After twenty races the championship was again to be settled in a desert dual between Hamilton and Rosberg. Hamilton this time was on the back foot for the first time since the pair met in junior formulae, he knew he needed to win or be a few places ahead of Rosberg but be no lower than fourth.
Hamilton appeared through-out the weekend like he had the slight edge over Rosberg, beating him to pole. Hamilton always manages to perform better than Rosberg under pressure but he managed to keep within a few tenths of his team-mate, Red Bull had the upper hand getting Daniel Ricciardo into third ahead of the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. However, the Red Bull’s used the less durable ultrasoft tyres.
With it all now on the line it was down to the lasr fifty five laps to decide whether it would be Nico or Lewis who would be world champion but the only grantee was that history would be made!
It was an intends fight between the two, Rosberg really wanted the victory but Hamilton had the control of the race at the front. Hamilton knew going into the race he needed to push his team-mate off the podium, so he tried to push him into the Red Bull’s.
This wasn’t enjoyable for the team, who instructed Hamilton repeatedly to speed up. He had other ideas, with both Verstappen and Vettel beginning to gain on Rosberg and if they could get past Rosberg it would give him his fourth world title.
The battle between Vettel and Verstappen was tight as the Ferrari was pushing the Red Bull with his cleaver strategy. Earlier in the race the Dutchman had been hit which started a chain of events which played to Rosberg’s hands.
While everyone focused on the Mercedes battle, there was another key battle worth millions between Force India and Williams over fourth in the constructors. Williams needed to get both Massa and Bottas ahead of the Force India’s to retake fourth place. But with Massa well down in the top ten it handed it to Force India.
Despite his best efforts to get Rosberg off the podium, it was in vein as Hamilton won the battle but Rosberg took third place to seal the world title and win the war!
Round up / reflection
Rosberg took the title by five points from Hamilton. A much improved Red Bull saw Daniel Ricciardo finish third and Vettel fourth, Verstappen following the switch in May finished fifth.
But while everyone began to ask what was going to happen next year, there was yet another twist in the tale stunting the paddock and everyone when Rosberg announced he was retiring from F1 with immediate affect! Rosberg had clearly been able to match Hamilton this season and everyone was looking forward to how it would unfold with the new regulations next season.
2016, a stunning season and one which saw Rosberg beat Hamilton for the first time. It also saw the emergence of new talent in Verstappen as a force to be reckoned with in the future and the collapse of Ferrari for now as a major force in Formula One!
But, Rosberg will go down in history after repeating Damon Hill becoming the second son of a champion to become champion!