The title might have already been decided, but that hasn’t dented the desire of Nico Rosberg to defeat his team-mate – and main rival – Lewis Hamilton. And for the second race in a row, he managed to do just that, as he maintained a lead from start to finish, despite Hamilton pushing hard throughout.
There was some controversy though, as Rosberg received much help from his pit team, who talked to him a huge amount over the radio. Many are stating that it was effectively coaching, which is illegal in the sport. If this had been the first race of the season, instead of one with no bearing over the title race, would an investigation by the race stewards have followed?
Rosberg started the race in pole position, and managed to retain first place after a hard fought battle with Hamilton at the start. He wasn’t able to shake Hamilton though, as the Brit stayed around 1.5 seconds behind the German all the way until the first round of pit stops. After the pit stops, the pressure didn’t stop, with Hamilton attempting to overtake but being unsuccessful. Tyre degradation forced Hamilton to pit though.
After that, Hamilton was not able to get close enough to Rosberg to force an overtake, and the German had a reasonably comfortable journey to the chequered flag. Hamilton finished in second place, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took third place. It was a good performance from Vettel, however he still finished 11 seconds behind the pair of Mercedes drivers, underlining how much work Ferrari have to do before the start of next season.
Further down the field, many pundits are praising the drive from Max Verstappen, which included an audacious and brilliant overtaking manoeuvre on Sergio Perez (which was then repeated on Felipe Nasr), as he finished in 10th place. Felipe Massa finished 8th in his home race, however is facing a steward’s inquiry after his tyre temperature was too high before the race started.
Of course, the entire event was overshadowed by the terrible events in Paris, and all the drivers took time to remember the victims in a minute of silence. Nico Rosberg also paid tribute to the victims while on the podium, stating that “everything is relative with what happened back in Paris.”
The next race sees the drivers heading to Abu Dhabi for the final race of the season. Will Hamilton get back to winning ways, or will Rosberg continue his good end-of-season form?