Simply Abu Dhabi XX

6 6 S I M P LY A B U DH A B I In fact, the only fly in the ointment all year for theMercedes team has been a red one fromMaranello with four-time world champ, Sebastian Vettel, upsetting what could have been a Mercedes whitewash by taking the only non-Merc wins this year in Malaysia, Hungary and Singapore. Otherwise it’s been Hamilton with ten wins from team-mate Nico Rosberg, who finished second in this year’s title with six wins and Vettel claiming the remainder. You can’t help but get the feeling that the psychological impact of Hamilton taking the championship over Nico Rosberg in 2014 carried over into this season for Rosberg, who put in some blindingly good performance but was outmatched when it mattered. Case in point is the German’s late season turn of form where he claimed pole position in the final three races in Brazil, Mexico and Abu Dhabi, as well as commanding lights-to-flag victories in all three GPs. Had this style of performance been shown earlier in the season, the championship might have gone down to the wire, instead of Rosberg showing his obvious natural abilities only from the race after Hamilton sealed the crown. Twenty-two drivers from ten teams lined up inMelbourne on 18 March for the first of 19 races that would return to Mexico for the first time since 1992 in place of a shock exit of Germany from the F1 calendar for the first time in 55 years. While Mercedes was riding the crest of a technological wave following its Constructors win in 2014, both McLaren Honda and Red Bull Infiniti were all at sea, massively lacking in power and reliability during the pre-season tests that would eventually dog them for the entire year. This left only Ferrari as a worthy challenger to the three-pointed star for the 2015 trophy. It was a catch-up gameMcLaren could never recover from, while Red Bull fell to arguably the lowest low of its ten-year life when tensions between it and engine supplier Renault all but tore the team to shreds.