Nico Rosberg captured his 3rd pole to flag Grand Prix in a row after fending off an aggressive challenge by teammate Lewis Hamilton, that including the 2 cars coming together too close for comfort towards the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this morning. In the end, however, this year’s F1 Champ Lewis Hamilton had to settle for 2nd place in the season finale, a position he has held since winning the title at the American Grand Prix in Austin a few weeks ago. Although Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said they had given “all the strategy to Hamilton, Rosberg was the “fastest man in the track”.Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen came in 3rd, just ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, with Force India’s Sergio Perez completing the top-5.
While it has been another contentious year between the 2 Mercedes drivers, with their animosity towards one another played out publicly during and after each race, another internal feud between team chairman Niki Lauda and team chief Toto Wolff over supplying engines for Red Bull seems to have reached the boiling point, with Lauda now threatening to quit Mercedes.
According to reports in British newspapers including the London Times, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Wolff and Lauda came to odds after Lauda reportedly shook hands with Dietrich Mateschitz on an engine deal that Wolff later vetoed. Toto’s move has also made him unpopular with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt, who had hoped to broker a deal that would satisfy Red Bull Mateschitz enough for him not to quit the sport. A deal between Red Bull and Renault, however, will keep the team on the grid in 2016.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen what effect a split between Wolff and Lauda will have on Mercedes during the upcoming season. While Wolff, reportedly owns 30% of the team, Lauda, is thought to have a 10% stake in the team as its non-executive chairman.