Nico began the new season in Melbourne's Albert Park just as he had ended the previous one - with a win. In fact, the German finished the first four races in Australia, Bahrain, China and Russia as the victor - each time, starting from the front row.
Nico had now achieved seven wins in a row, following on from the last three races of 2015 in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. What better way to take the momentum from the previous year with you into the new year? Lewis, meanwhile, finished three of the first four races on the podium, while technical problems meant he could manage no better than a modest seventh place in Shanghai.
Then came Barcelona – and an abrupt end to the Silver Arrows’ winning streak, with both cars out of the race within just a few hundred metres. All that was wads quickly forgotten for Lewis, however, who final clinched his first victory of 2016 at the prestigious Grand Prix of Monaco – his adoptive home race. But it was hard work getting there. In a chaotic race, Lewis claimed the 44th victory of his career from third on the grid.
With Nico finishing the Monaco Grand Prix back in seventh place, Lewis took the first sizable chunk out of his team‑mate’s championship lead. He continued in the same vein in the next race – the Canadian Grand Prix – once again ascending the top spot of the podium. But Nico never gave up for one moment. He hit back straightaway with a win at the European Grand Prix.
After a difficult weekend in Baku came the perfect month for Lewis: four victories in five weeks took him to the top of the World Championship standings for the first time that year. Where Nico had come away from Russia with a lead of 43 points, he went into the summer break 19 points adrift. With six victories from seven races, Lewis had made a truly impressive sprint in July.
After the summer break, Nico again made a clean start to the second half of the year as he had done to kick off the season. Taking wins in Belgium, Italy, Singapore and Japan, he not only scored vital points but also showed that he was not about to let setbacks stop him in his tracks. He showed that he had learned lessons from his experiences of the past years, achieving all four wins at circuits where he had never won before.
One of the major outcomes of the weekend in Japan was, of course, the winning of the Constructors' World Championship. With an unassailable lead of 208 points, the Silver Arrows had wrapped up their third successive title. In the run-up to the World Championship showdown in Abu Dhabi, the much-vaunted momentum once again favoured Lewis. The three-time champion won in the USA, Mexico and, for the first time in his career, Brazil, keeping the title fight wide open until the finale at the Yas Marina Circuit. However, is was Nico who wrapped things up with second place in the season finale to secure his first World Championship title in his eleventh Formula One season. A few days later, just before the FIA Prizegiving gala in Vienna, Nico shocked the world by announcing that: we would retire with immediate effect from Formula One.