Abu Dhabi Grand Prix live: Nico Rosberg wins championship as Lewis Hamilton holds on to Grand Prix victory

Follow the latest from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Hamilton and Rosberg battle for the world championship

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The Independent Online

Nico Rosberg has been crowned the new Formula One world champion despite finishing the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix behind race winner Lewis Hamilton, securing the title by just five points over his Mercedes teammate. Follow the latest here.

  • Nico Rosberg crowned 2016 F1 world champion
  • Lewis Hamilton takes Abu Dhabi Grand Prix victory ahead of Rosberg
  • Rosberg holds on to claim second and win title by five points
  • Sebastian Vettel finishes third ahead of Max Verstappen
  • Hamilton attempted to back Rosberg into pack with top four split by 1.6 seconds
  • Rosberg wins his first world title to emulate his father, Keke, who won in 1982

Follow the live action below...

Live Updates

Latest:
  • Nico Rosberg crowned 2016 world champion
  • Hamilton wins Grand Prix but finishes second in standings
  • Vettel passes Verstappen late on to take third
  • Verstappen went from last to fourth after early spin
  • Top 5: 1. Hamilton 2. Rosberg 3. Vettel 4. Verstappen 5. Ricciardo
  • RET: Magnussen (Lap 5), Bottas (Lap 7), Button (Lap 13), Kvyat (Lap 16), Sainz (Lap 43)
Welcome to The Independent's live coverage of today's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where the Formula One world championship will be decided between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton as the two Mercedes teammates go head-to-head for the second time in three years.
 
Rosberg leads the championship by 12 points going into the season finale, and will guarantee his first title if he secures a podium finish regardless of Hamilton's result. In all likelihood, Hamilton needs to win and hope that two of the Red Bulls or Ferraris get in front of Rosberg, or that he suffers a first reliability failure of the season.
 
We'll bring you all the latest news and build-up from midday.
Who will win the 2016 F1 world championship?
We're well underway with the final preparations for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the season finale to the 2016 campaign that will determine the world champion. Will is be normal service resumed as Lewis Hamilton retains his world crown, or will Nico Rosberg emulate his father, Keke, and win a first championship to become only the second father-son combination to win the F1 championship after Graham and Damon Hill.
The big story may be about the men on the left and right, but it's also a day to remember for Jenson Button and Felipe Massa. The two veterans bow out today, with Massa set to retire and Button unlikely to return despite having a 2018 option to return. What brilliant servants they've been to F1. 
Jenson Button and Felipe Massa pose ahead of their final Grand Prix appearances
 
Some news just in...
 
Mercedes were forced to change the fuel pump on Lewis Hamilton's car overnight, with a discrepancy spotted on the data that meant they were free to make the change. Will that play on his mind?
**PIT LANE OPEN**
 
The light turns green and Rosberg leaves the garage first, with Hamilton departing 30 second later. Half an hour to go, folks.

KEY POINTS

The start - We've seen time and time again that the Mercedes battle can be decided off the start line. In 2014, it was Hamilton who got a stormer, while last year it was Rosberg who stormed away. Both went on to win after leading into the first corner.
 
Tyres - The ultra-softs are making a rare appearance this weekend, and for some drivers they haven't been holding on at all. Both Mercedes start on them, while the Red Bulls are on the super-softs. The ultras should be quicker off the line, but they will drop off much quicker.
 
Safety car - Despite the acres of run-off, we've already seen the safety car today in the GP2 race. If the safety car appears today, someone could gain a huge advantage if it comes during a pit cycle.
 
Red Bull - Neither Red Bull nor Ferrari have shown that they have the pace to rival Mercedes on one-lap pace, but they may just be able to mix it up as the different pit strategies play out.
 
Hamilton - He's been told not to back Rosberg into the pack, as if he does Mercedes will pit Rosberg to give him the undercut. That could jeopardise Hamilton's chances, but it could also be a tactic that wins him the title.
This is it then. The grid is starting to clear as the five-minute warning goes up, and the final preparations are complete. All eyes are on that front row, and it doesn't get much more tense than this.
How much does Lewis want it? He could try to disappear at the front and hope something comes his way, but if Rosberg steers clear of trouble then he's almost certain to finish on the podium. In which case Lewis could back him up and try to cause some chaos behind him. It will earn him a telling off from his team and risk his own chances of winning, but it may be what is needed to win a fourth title.
Quick tyre update 
 
WARM-UP LAP UNDERWAY!
Starting tyres:
Only the Red Bulls are on the super-softs in the top 10, with the rest on ultras.Gutirrez, Nasr, and Sainz start on the softs, while both Palmer and Wehrlein are on ultras. The rest of the field are on super-softs, so it's a pretty mixed up grid.
So 65% of you believe it'll be Rosberg who wins the title, while an optimistic 35% are backing Hamilton. Here they come back round onto the grid...
LIGHTS OUT! THE RACE IS UNDERWAY!
Lap 1: Hamilton makes a good start as does Rosberg, and they retain position into turn one. Verstappen spins! The Red Bull is down to last but he keeps going.
Lap 2: Verstappen's already up to 19th, as Magnussen comes into the pits for a new front wing with damage on his old one. It looks like Verstappen ran into the back of Hulkenberg, who is currently dicing with Force India teammate Perez, but up front it's as you were.

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Preview

Those others are the two Red Bulls and the two Ferraris, with Hamilton needing at least two of them to get in front of Rosberg in order for the Briton to have any hope of clinching a fourth world championship.

Hamilton struck the first blow by taking pole position ahead of Rosberg, but his Mercedes teammate will line up second on the grid and the prospects of Rosberg being passed look slim given he was over half-a-second faster than the third-placed Daniel Ricciardo.

We’ll bring you full coverage of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from 12:00 right here, but you can find out everything you need to know for the race below in the meantime.

What time does it start?

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will begin at 13:00 with lights out, with The Independent’s full coverage getting underway from midday.

Where can I watch it?

Both Channel 4 and Sky Sports F1 will show the race live. Channel 4 begin their coverage from 12:00 and run until 16:40, while Sky Sports F1 will start at the earlier time of 11:30 but end their coverage at 16:15.

You can also follow the race with in-depth coverage with the Independent.

How can Lewis Hamilton win the title?

  • Hamilton trails Rosberg by 12 points, meaning that if he wins the race, he needs Rosberg to finish fourth or worse.
  • If Hamilton finishes second, he need Rosberg to finish seventh or worse.
  • If Hamilton finishes third, he needs Rosberg to finish ninth or worse.
  • If Hamilton finishes fourth, he needs Rosberg to finish 11th or worse
  • If Hamilton finishes fifth or worse, he cannot win the title.

Starting grid

1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1mins 38.755secs

2 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:39.058

3 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:39.589

4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:39.604

5 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:39.661

6 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:39.818

7 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India 1:40.501

8 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:40.519

9 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:41.106

10 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams 1:41.213

11 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 1:41.084

12 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren 1:41.272

13 Esteban Gutierrez (Mex) Haas F1 1:41.480

14 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:41.564

15 Jolyon Palmer (Gbr) Renault 1:41.820

16 Pascal Wehrlein (Ger) Manor Racing 1:41.995

17 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:42.003

18 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Renault 1:42.142

19 Felipe Nasr (Bra) Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.247

20 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Manor Racing 1:42.286

21 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:42.393

22 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.637

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