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Nico Robsberg crowned F1 champion after thrilling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

He finished second to Lewis Hamilton today but that sealed his maiden title.

Image: David Davies

NICO ROSBERG CLAIMED his first Formula One world championship despite finishing second behind Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The German went into the final race of a long and often bitter title fight with his Mercedes team-mate knowing a podium would be enough to clinch the world title.

Hamilton’s task was always going to be a tougher one — the three-time world champion needing to overhaul a 12-point deficit to retain his crown — but the Briton did all he could to bridge that gap.

Having qualified on pole Hamilton maintained the lead into the first corner, but did not race away from the pack as the Mercedes have done for almost all of the campaign.

Instead, Hamilton intentionally slowed his pace in an effort to back Rosberg into a racy pair of Red Bulls and the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

That strategy appeared to be paying dividends as Rosberg struggled to get by a one-stopping Max Verstappen following the first round of pit stops.

But Rosberg eventually overtook the teenager and came out ahead of the Dutchman after pitting for a second time.

Despite Hamilton’s best efforts and some blistering late pace from Verstappen and Vettel, Rosberg came under no further threat, easing to the chequered flag to win the title by just five points.

© AFP 2016 

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