NICO Rosberg won his maiden Formula One world title Sunday by securing second place behind Mercedes arch-rival Lewis Hamilton in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Reigning champion Hamilton ignored team orders in a last bid to block his German teammate. But Rosberg, who started the 21st and final race of 2016 12 points clear of Hamilton, would not be denied.
Rosberg’s second place meant he clinched his first championship by five points. He emulates his father Keke who won the title in 1982.
With the race win – his tenth of the year – assured, Hamilton ignored team orders to speed up as he toyed with the pace, slowing it down in a last ditch bid to try to allow third-placed Sebastian Vettel and fourth-placed Max Verstappen to overtake Rosberg.
Rosberg returned to applause and cheers from the pits, and lifted F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone up in the air in a massive bear hug.
In contrast there was barely any contact between Rosberg and him and deposed champion Hamilton before the presentation.
That came on the podium, when Hamilton congratulated his former teenage go-carting companion with a handshake and a hug.
“Big congratulations to Nico, good job man,” said Hamilton.
Rosberg reliving the final tense laps, said: “With the guys (Vettel and Verstappen) coming up behind me the end was not the most enjoyable.
“I’m very proud to have done the same feat as my Dad achieved.”