Nico Rosberg clinched his maiden world title on Sunday when he finished second in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix despite Lewis Hamilton ignoring team orders in his quest to foil the German.
The 31-year-old Rosberg concluded the longest season in the sport’s history with a nail-biting second place under intense pressure after leader and ultimate race winner Hamilton had slowed the field to create a difficult finish.
Hamilton reeled off his 10th win of the season - the most by any driver not to win the title - and the 53rd of his career, but his gamesmanship upset his team and his team-mate in the closing laps.
His final lap was nine seconds slower than the lap that carried him to pole and was clearly designed to push Rosberg into a vulnerable position as Sebastian Vettel closed in in his Ferrari.
Hamilton ignored two instructions from the team to increase his speed at the front, but was unable to create a situation in which Rosberg could be attacked and passed.
It was Rosberg’s triumph, in the end, as his wife Vivian made clear when she screeched her congratulations on the team radio. “We did it, we did it!” “Yippppeee!” Rosberg replied.
Rosberg joined an exclusive club by becoming only the second son of a former champion to take the title, his father Keke having won the championship 34 years ago with the Williams team.
Briton Damon Hill did the same when he won the title with Williams, following his father Graham’s achievements, in 1996.
He also became Germany’s third champion.The tension was palpable as they climbed from their cars to go to the podium after the race in which Vettel finished third for Ferrari ahead of Dutchman Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.