World champion Lewis Hamilton was left bemused by the in-race strategy devised by Mercedes after team-mate Nico Rosberg secured his third successive victory at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix yesterday.
Hamilton stopped a lap later than race-leader Nico Rosberg at the first pit-stop, but 10 laps after his rival for the second, emerging from the latter 12.5 seconds behind the German having reduced his lead to 1.3 seconds prior to the final tyre change.
“You have to rely on the engineers to give you the optimum strategy at that point,” said Hamilton, who wrapped up his third world championship in Austin last month to win the drivers’ gong with three races to spare.
“Honestly, I don’t really understand it, I came out 11 seconds behind and had a mountain to climb and then the tyres went off.”
Hamilton’s comments followed his posturing at the Brazilian Grand Prix last time out when he bemoaned his inability to run a different strategy to that of Rosberg in a bid to get ahead in the race.
Pole-sitter Rosberg, who finished the championship 59 points behind Hamilton in second place, secured a hat-trick of victories for the first time in his Formula One career to hint at the potential for a sustained title tilt in 2016.
“Austin was a tough weekend and since then I have just come back a lot stronger,” said Rosberg. “Next year can come at any moment, it could start tomorrow, I don’t need any holidays, and it is great to end the season like this.”
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished third in Abu Dhabi ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who came home fourth after starting 15th on the grid. The Finn ended the season in fourth place in the championship behind Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel.