How the world title was won: Rosberg's route to F1 glory

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Nico Rosberg is celebrating a maiden Formula One world title triumph following his second-place finish behind Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

A stunning start to the season gave Rosberg a healthy lead atop the drivers' standings and, although team-mate Hamilton came roaring back by winning the final four races, the early successes ultimately proved significant for the German.

We look back on how the 2016 campaign unfolded, as Mercedes once again proved F1's dominant force.

 

ROSBERG PICKS UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF

Although Hamilton won the 2015 title by a comfortable margin, it was Rosberg who ended last year as the grid's form driver, beating the Briton in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi to double his tally of race wins in the season.

Hamilton was unable to turn the tide at the beginning of this term, conceding a 43-point lead after just four races as Rosberg extended his winning streak to seven races with triumphs in Australia, Bahrain, China and Russia.

 

CATALAN CHAOS

Rosberg's hopes of making it five wins from five at the start of 2016 were swiftly ended at May's Spanish Grand Prix, as he and Hamilton collided on the first lap and both retired.

The controversial incident, which opened the door for Max Verstappen to claim a stunning maiden victory on his Red Bull debut, ensured Rosberg retained a significant advantage over his team-mate.

However, with his run of victories over, the championship leader found it tough to regain momentum over the coming weeks.

 

HAMILTON SEIZES CONTROL

Six of the next seven races were won by Hamilton, with Rosberg's triumph at the European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan a rare high point for the German as his rival hit top form.

Success on home soil at Silverstone lifted Hamilton to within a point of top spot in the standings and he duly moved ahead for the first time with victory at the Hungaroring a fortnight later.

When Hamilton won again in Germany on July 31, he was 19 points clear of Rosberg and on course for a third world title in a row.

 

RESURGENT ROSBERG BENEFITS FROM MALAYSIAN MISERY FOR LEWIS

To his credit, Rosberg bounced back with three wins in succession - at Spa, Monza and Marina Bay - to regain the championship lead.

Hamilton could have been forgiven for feeling the pressure and an engine failure at October's Malaysian Grand Prix brought a furious reaction from the reigning champion, who initially hinted at a conspiracy before making it clear he had "100 per cent confidence" in Mercedes.

Rosberg had been sent spinning early in the race, but recovered impressively to claim third position and stretch his lead over Hamilton to 23 points. That cushion was enhanced further, to 33 points, when Rosberg won at Suzuka, with Hamilton third behind Max Verstappen.

 

HAMILTON FIGHTBACK PROVES IN VAIN

Hamilton ensured the title race went to the wire by taking victories in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, but Rosberg was second on each occasion and therefore remained in the box seat - with a lead of 12 points heading to Abu Dhabi.

Needing a podium finish to follow in the footsteps of father Keke as an F1 world champion, Rosberg was put under pressure as Hamilton - the fastest man all weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit - backed up the field from the head of the race, leaving his team-mate vulnerable to Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen close behind.

The tactics of Hamilton prompted consternation in the Mercedes garage, but Rosberg was able to hang on to second place and take the title.