There were many great overtakes during the course of the 2016 season, with Max Verstappen architect of many, but it was Nico Rosberg’s crucial move on the young Dutchman at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that got the nod.
Rosberg went onto the decisive season finale knowing, that if Lewis Hamilton won the race, he had to finish on the podium at Yas Marina to clinch the title. The pressure was immense and he knew that any slip-up or a strategy blip would cost him dearly.
On lap 20 when he dived into the inside of the Red Bull driver, at the end of the back straight, to make a bid for second place through Turn 8 – it was a ballsy move. He ambushed Verstappen from way back, but the teenager was not going to be a pushover and drifted wide exiting the turn, with Rosberg perlously close but not close enough as Verstappen edged ahead as they powered through Turn 9 nose to tail.
But exiting the turn Rosberg had massive drive and managed to ease past Verstappen who immediately tucked in behind the Silver Arrows as they roared down the second longest flat-out stretch at Yas towards Turn 11. Rosberg covered the inside, as Verstappen planned another attack but to no avail, the Mercedes driver was second with Hamilton up ahead in the distance.
In retrospect it might have been the one that ultimately sealed the title on the night because any further delays behind Verstappen and Rosberg would have surely been caught by hard chasing Sebastian Vettel towards the end of the race.
And as consequence he may have also fallen into the clutches of Verstappen and not finished on the podium.
It was a ballsy move by the World Champion to be, on one of the hardest campaigners in Formula 1. A touch, or a slight mistake could have cost Rosberg the title, thus it was also the overtake with – by far – the most at stake.