FORMULA 1

NICO LEAVES FORMULA ONE AND  LCH UNDERSTANDS!

Nico Rosberg retires from Formula 1 after winning world championship . Rosberg says world championship was his dream and ‘now I’ve made it’; Made decision a day after winning title in Abu Dhabi; Mercedes now looking for a new team-mate for Lewis Hamilton

2016 world champion Nico Rosberg has sensationally announced he has retired from Formula 1 with immediate effect.

The German driver, 31, won the title last week, beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to his first Drivers’ Championship.

“When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became world champion,” said Rosberg. “On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start.”

Rosberg has revealed he took the decision to quit on Monday evening, just 24 hours after sealing his maiden title in the season finale.  Upon informing Toto Wolff, Rosberg says the Mercedes team boss “knew straight away I was completely convinced and that reassured me”. Wolff has described the decision as “brave” and “testament to the strength of his character”.

The Austrian added: “He has chosen to leave at the pinnacle of his career, as world champion, having achieved his childhood dream. The clarity of his judgement meant I accepted his decision straight away when he told me.”

NICO: Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my ‘one thing’ to become Formula One World Champion. Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I’ve made it. I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right. My strongest emotion right now is deep gratitude to everybody who supported me to make that dream happen.

This season, I tell you, it was so damn tough. I pushed like crazy in every area after the disappointments of the last two years; they fuelled my motivation to levels I had never experienced before. And of course that had an impact on the ones I love, too – it was a whole family effort of sacrifice, putting everything behind our target. I cannot find enough words to thank my wife Vivian; she has been incredible. She understood that this year was the big one, our opportunity to do it, and created the space for me to get full recovery between every race, looking after our daughter each night, taking over when things got tough and putting our championship first.

“When I won the race in Suzuka, from the moment when the destiny of the title was in my own hands, the big pressure started and I began to think about ending my racing career if I became World Champion. On Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi, I knew that it could be my last race and that feeling cleared my head before the start. I wanted to enjoy every part of the experience, knowing it might be the last time… and then the lights went out and I had the most intense 55 laps of my life. I took my decision on Monday evening. After reflecting for a day, the first people I told were Vivian and Georg (Nolte, from Nico’s management team), followed by Toto.

The only thing that makes this decision in any way difficult for me is because I am putting my racing family into a tough situation. But Toto understood. He knew straight away that I was completely convinced and that reassured me. My proudest achievement in racing will always be to have won the world championship with this incredible team of people,the Silver Arrows.

“Now, I’m just here to enjoy the moment. There is time to savour the next weeks, to reflect on the season and to enjoy every experience that comes my way. After that, I will turn the next corner in my life and see what it has in store for me

FORMULA 1

LCH LOOSES THE 2016 FORMULA 1 DRIVERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. CONGRATS TO NICO!

Rosberg has won his maiden Formula One world championship. Needing to finish in the top three in Sunday’s final race of the season in Abu Dhabi he was second to his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

But he had to survive a scary few final laps as the outgoing champion ignored team orders and attempted to back Rosberg into the cars behind.

The result means Rosberg has won the tile by five points. The fact that Hamilton has won 10 races to Rosberg’s nine this year will be of no consolation to him.

It was another controlled, calculated race by the German to bring him the title he has always coveted. But he also showed some courage in his overtaking move on Max Verstappen to regain second place, almost colliding before surging into the lead.

But Rosberg had to survive a late fright as Hamilton employed some gamesmanship by slowing down.

With Hamilton leading, Mercedes told him to quicken up. They asked the driver why he was going so slowly, then said: “Lewis this is an instruction, we need 45.1 for the win.” But Hamilton replied: “I suggest you just let us race.”

With Max Verstappen behind Rosberg, and Sebastian Vettel closing fast on fresher rubber, it was a scary moment for Mercedes and Rosberg. The team’s technical director Paddy Lowe came on the radio and said: “Lewis, this is Paddy, we need you to pick up the pace to win this race.”

But again the plea fell on deaf ears. Vettel went past Verstappen to take third and then closed on Rosberg with Hamilton making no attempt to stretch out the pack. “Right now I’m losing the world championship, whether I win or lose this race,” Hamilton said.

Rosberg was reminded that third would be good enough, and with Verstappen struggling on old rubber there was no real threat on the German in the final lap.

But in the end it was the usual one-two for Mercedes, with Vettel third and Verstappen fourth.

GP2

LYNN SPRINTS TO WIN AS GASLY CROWNED CHAMPION

Briton on top as Frenchman claims 2016 title
Alex Lynn dominated this afternoon’s Sprint Race in Abu Dhabi, claiming the final win of the 2016 season with an experienced, rapid run from lights to flag ahead of Johnny Cecotto and Sergey Sirotkin, while further back Antonio Giovinazzi could manage no better that P6, handing the title to teammate Pierre Gasly.
If most eyes were on the championship showdown between the PREMA Racing pair, the Williams tester started as though the race was set for him alone, easily holding the lead into turn one before flying away, while Norman Nato got away fast but lost out on the inside to Sirotkin and Cecotto, with Nobuharu Matsushita having a good getaway but getting stuck on the outside, while Giovinazzi and Gasly held station from their P6 and P8 grid slots, split by Artem Markelov.
Lynn had the beating of everyone today, and was determined to prove the point as he built a solid lead on track, while Nato was unable to keep pace with the leading trio, forming a train behind him. Matsushita needed 8 laps, and the best of his tyres, to get by the Frenchman for P4: the title contenders were clearly faster than him, as was Markelov, but finding a way by was proving tougher than expected.
Giovinazzi could see his title challenge slipping away from him, but just couldn’t find a line around Nato, which gave Markelov some fresh impetus: the Russian had a go at him into turn 10 on lap 15 and the pair ran side by side around the hotel complex, but a small touch and a run across the grass put paid to his ambitions, despite the Italian running deep at the end of the back straight soon afterwards.
As the laps ran down Mitch Evans pushed ahead, overtaking a number of his rivals as a farewell present to the series. And on the last lap Lynn easily rolled to victory, with Cecotto taking advantage of race long pressure and slightly better tyres to outdrag Sirotkin on the back straight for P2, with Matsushita finishing a lonely race in 4th. Nato soaked up the pressure from Giovinazzi to hold on for P5, with Markelov making do with 7th and Evans grabbing the final point in the hotel complex from a delighted Gasly, who stayed out of trouble to claim the 2016 GP2 drivers’ title from Giovinazzi and Sirotkin, while the 1-2 ensured PREMA Racing claimed the teams’ title in their maiden season, from Racing Engineering and RUSSIAN TIME.

FORMULA 1

LCH HAS POLE POSITION FOR ABU DHABI

Lewis Hamilton won Formula One’s last qualifying session of the season here on Saturday, beating his title rival Nico Rosberg into second place.

Hamilton was three-tenths quicker as he finished the qualifying season with a 12-8 advantage over his Mercedes team-mate.

The result confirmed Hamilton as favourite to win Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But Rosberg is still well placed to finish in the top three, and with a 12-point lead in the championship that is all he needs. Hamilton was given a boost in Q1, when he was fastest while Rosberg was back in fifth. Behind the Mercedes on the grid will be Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, then the Ferrari pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, followed by Max Verstappen in the other Red Bull. In what is assumed to be his final F1 race weekend, McLaren’s Jenson Button did not make it to the top 10 Q3 shootout.

GP3

LECLERC TAKES THE GP3 CHAMPIONSHIP DE VRIES WINS DRAMATIC RACE

ART Grand Prix’s and FDA’s Charles Leclerc champion in Yas Marina
Ferrari Driver Academy and ART Grand Prix rookie Charles Leclerc started the 2016 GP3 Series season as a title favourite and today his dream became reality after a very eventful Race 1 at the Yas Marina Circuit. His title rival Alexander Albon (also from ART GP) started from reverse pole but suffered damage and retired during a battle for the lead of the race. Dutchman Nyck de Vries was victorious from the Arden International duo of Jake Dennis and Jack Aitken. The Monegasque also retired in dramatic fashion but he had done enough already to clinch the prestigious crown.
Albon started from pole and made a good getaway to retain the lead. Dennis from the front row lost several positions after a sluggish start, thus promoting Aitken and De Vries. It was a frenetic first lap with the top four drivers glued together. Leclerc remained in fifth at this point until DAMS’ Santino Ferrucci passed the ART driver at the close of the opening lap.
Lap 1 saw Trident’s Antonio Fuoco suffer a right front puncture after contact with Jenzer Motorsport’s Arjun Maini: the Italian finished outside of the points. Meanwhile a huge train of cars were sat behind Leclerc in P6 with Kevin Joerg the next one eager to make a move on the Series leader.
Aitken posted the fastest lap of the race in second place, putting the pressure on Albon in P1 who was leading by 2.6s, with Leclerc 7s adrift. The safety car was briefly deployed after Tatiana Calderon spun and stopped at Turn 1. Once the race resumed, the Thai racer controlled his getaway from Aitken well, but the Arden driver was ready to attack as the duo enjoyed a superb wheel to wheel battle for a number of corners with Aitken coming out on top.
Aitken held a half a second advantage over the ART driver but Albon was quick to retaliate and fought back into the lead of the race, knowing a win was vital to help his chances of remaining in the title battle.
On lap 11, disaster struck for Albon as he ran over the kerb whilst dicing for the lead and his ART machine went airborne, making contact with Aitken. Albon’s race was over, as were his hopes of becoming champion. This promoted De Vries into the lead who had been holding off Dennis for the large majority of the race.
Ferrucci was holding onto the final podium position ahead of Leclerc. The Ferrari Driver Academy star was eager to celebrate his newly gained GP3 crown on the podium by passing the American driver but unfortunately there was a small contact between the pair, which resulted into the Monegasque having a puncture and retiring. Still, Leclerc had done enough to clinch the title and returned to the pitlane to celebrate with his ART GP squad.
Aitken carved his way past Ferrucci for P3 in a feisty battle; the DAMS driver was then issued with a 10s time penalty for forcing the Briton off track. Amidst all of the excitement, De Vries continued to drive a mature and confident race, keeping Dennis at bay to pocket his second GP3 win of the season by 1s. Aitken completed the rostrum ahead of Kevin Joerg – his best result in GP3 with fourth. Nirei Fukuzumi, Steijn Schothorst, Jake Hughes, Konstantin Tereschenko (also his best result), Ferrucci and Alex Palou completed the top ten.

GP3

THIRD POLE FOR ALBON AT YAS MARINA

ART Grand Prix’s Alexander Albon could not have looked happier after pocketing pole position at the season finale at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The Thai racer’s best laptime of 1:55.274 earned him four bonus points for pole, which cuts his deficit to Series leader Charles Leclerc to 25 points. The Monegasque qualified P5, with fellow title challenger Antonio Fuoco in P11. Arden International’s Jake Dennis and Jack Aitken completed the top three.
Cloudy conditions with a strong breeze set the scene for the thirty minute qualifying session for Round 9 of the 2016 GP3 Series season. Albon immediately set the early place in the 1m56’s before Dennis bettered his time by two tenths. ART Grand Prix’s Nyck de Vries then dipped into the 1m55’s with a best lap six tenths clear of the Briton.
Albon retaliated but could only do enough to split the Dutchman and his teammate to grab P2 before the Arden driver bounced back to second place. Meanwhile Leclerc’s best efforts earned him third position in the first part of qualifying; the Ferrari Driver Academy ace lapped a mere 0.005s faster than Albon. Dennis found some more time but was still three tenths shy of the McLaren junior on provisional pole.
The drivers returned to the pitlane for set-up adjustments and to switch to a new set of the super-soft Pirelli tyre. Dennis lit up the timing screen to go quickest: almost half a second ahead clear of his rivals; but once again Albon was on the attack and he reclaimed his position at the head of the timesheet by two tenths.
Leclerc was also on a charge as he went fastest in sector one but he failed to improve on the rest of his lap. Dennis was also giving it his maximum on his final attempt but gave up his lap when he realised it would not be enough. His fellow Arden teammate Aitken shot up to third place as the chequered flag was waved.
Albon was overjoyed to achieve his third pole of the campaign and reduce Leclerc’s lead in the standings. Dennis grabbed his third front row start of the season with Aitken completing the trio. De Vries qualified fourth, ahead of Series leader and teammate Leclerc. Santino Ferrucci, Arjun Maini, Kevin Joerg, Steijn Schothorst and Nirei Fukuzumi completed the top ten. Fuoco starts just outside of the top ten in P11.
Race 1 takes place tomorrow at 12.25 (GMT+4) and it is one not be miss as a new GP3 Champion could be crowned.

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