On This Day in 2016: Nico Rosberg becomes Formula One world champion

By PA Sport Staff
·1-min read

Nico Rosberg was crowned Formula One world champion on this day in 2016 following a tense Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in which Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton disobeyed orders.

German driver Rosberg claimed his first – and only – F1 title after crossing the line in second place, behind defending champion and title rival Hamilton.

Hamilton took the chequered flag driving slowly in an attempt to bring other drivers into the battle, knowing he needed Rosberg to finish below third.

The obstinate Briton was repeatedly told to speed up but told his team: “Let us race”, while Rosberg in turn complained on the radio that the management should “consider doing something”.

Nico Rosberg, left, took the world championship from Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton
Nico Rosberg, left, took the world championship from Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton (David Davies/PA)

The top four drivers were eventually covered by just 1.6 seconds, with Rosberg managing to hold off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to emulate his father Keke, the 1982 world champion.

The Rosbergs became only the second family in which a father and son have won the F1 title, after Graham and Damon Hill.

Rosberg junior, who surprisingly retired from the sport with immediate effect just five days later, celebrated with a series of doughnuts on the pit straight before leaping out of his Mercedes and kissing the nose of his car and then picking up F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

After pipping Hamilton to the title by just five points, Rosberg said: “He is the benchmark and I took the world championship away from him, which is a phenomenal feeling.”