Heat, smoking tarmac and Mercedes dominated the spectacular Abu Dhabi GP, final of the 2015 Formula One season. Nico Rosberg secured his third consecutive win and three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for the second place after he tried to overtake his team-mate with an off-set race strategy. But the actual winners of the weekend are Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes-sub Pascal Wehrlein.
Words: Ena Bilobrk, Subeditor: Ludovica D’Angio
Hamilton decided to plot his own path in order to win the last race of the season and stole the after-race headlines by ignoring team instructions and racing with his own strategy. Rosberg was clearly unimpressed and had the race of his life in the Emirates capital.
Luxury Yachts, fancy lights and loads of champagne couldn’t lead away from the problems the ultimate discipline of motorsport is facing. But every cloud has a silver lining and Red Bull’s lining seems to shine as bright as the Yas Marina circuit.
Boss Christian Horner announced after the Abu Dhabi race: “I have a contract for an engine, the details of which I hope to be able to announce within a week.”
The months of struggle and insecurity regarding Red Bull’s participation at the F1 in 2016 finally have come to an end. And no one can beam brighter about this than driver, Daniel Ricciardo.
After he secured his best qualifying of the season with a fifth place and a final sixth-place finish he says to the press: “Sixth is probably not representative of how good our weekend was, but I’m pretty pleased. We ended the season well and I feel I got the most out of the car, so I’m leaving more happy than I was a few races ago.”
Ricciardo is known for being motorsports smiley-face and we decided to grab a quick interview to get to know the driver. Besides his passion for singing the Australian couldn’t care less about football and loves a Saturday in.
After frustrating months have dominated the drivers year, it is amazing to see the positivity coming back knowing to be able to start into 2016 with a better starting position.
Frustrating must have been the announcement that GP3 series contender Esteban Ocon will be promoted to a Mercedes F1 role instead of DTM Champion Pascal Wehrlein. The 21-year-old motorsport talent got a first taste of what it would be like to drive for Mercedes F1 at the Race of Champions in London, where he show cased the Mercedes V8 F1 car.
“I hope I will get a drive in Formula One but there are not many cockpits left for next year so it won’t be easy”, Wehrlein told Sky. But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff keeps an option open for the rising star: “I could well mean both of them end up in a testing role, in a reserve driver role and a DTM role, so it’s not done, yet.”
Pascal is besides Daniel the actual winner of the weekend, as Toto has given him the chance to undertake Pirelli’s tire test in Abu Dhabi after the race. We got the chance to speak to the youngster, as well, and believe his determination and German discipline will help him to secure a F1 seat.
Besides filling the seats, there are still other issues to be discussed before 2016 can kick off. Red Bull’s new engine supplier is to be announced shortly and it is believed that they will go back to their long-term partners Renault.
Renaults own internal problems have caused the delay. The French are trying to take over Lotus F1 team and nothing can be announced until the deal is closed. Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi told reporters “Renault people are at the factory.” He added: “We will be very surprised if it doesn’t go through.”
Not very surprising is the ongoing Hamilton-Rosberg dispute, which will surely continue in the next season. The festive season can now begin for the drivers, but Hamilton has not decided to get into Christmas mood and drop his anger against his teammate.
The Mercedes driver stated he wouldn’t swap presents with Rosberg as they “haven’t done it before” and he doesn’t know “why it should change.”