Rosberg: Abu Dhabi showed change Hamilton has made since 2016 defeat

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Lewis Hamilton's performance in Abu Dhabi highlighted a change since his defeat to Nico Rosberg in 2016, the German claims.

When he defeated the Briton to clinch the championship that year, many pointed to Rosberg's victories in the final three races of 2015 after Hamilton had claimed the world title in Austin.

On Sunday, however, the now six-time champion dominated at Yas Marina with Nico believing Lewis now understands the importance of each race.

"It's so important to end the season on a high because you go into the winter break on a high," Rosberg said on his YouTube channel.

"You know the saying in F1, 'You're only as good as your last race' so if you finish the season on a high, that's how you do the winter break.

"You have confidence and you start the next year by hitting the ground running.

"I think Lewis has learnt his lesson there because in my time he sort of dropped the ball at the end of the season when he sealed the championship and that let me win the last three races and that gave me a springboard into the following year.

"I was full of confidence and he was on the back foot so he learned a lesson from there.

"I think he stayed on it this year all the way to the end because these races count for next year."

Hamilton though admits he was surprised by how easy it was for him in Abu Dhabi, crossing the finish line almost 17 seconds clear of Max Verstappen.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting to have the pace advantage to that extent,” he said.

“Our long-run pace was quite good and I was told that we might be a tenth or two ahead but then in the race, we had a bit more of an advantage in that respect.

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"Once I got out in the clear I was able to manage my pace pretty well in that first stint and manage the tyres.

“I just had to go as long, basically, as Max was going. Then we got onto that next set of tyres and for this track the tyre was good," he explained.

“The hard tyres is quite resilient to any abrasion and that. It goes a long, long way. I think it can do the whole race stint.

“I think towards the end of the race I was like ‘I’ve got to push and see if I can extract any more performance from the car’. I do wish that we had some battles though.”