Nico Rosberg shed tears of joy after clinching his first Formula One championship on Sunday in a tense Abu Dhabi Grand Prix won by Mercedes team mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton amid accusations of "dirty tricks".
Hamilton chalked up his 10th win of the season, and fourth in a row, but the Briton was powerless to do anything about the championship outcome despite trying to help rivals pass the second-placed German.
His attempt to push Rosberg into the clutches of those behind, by deliberately slowing to the concern of team bosses, produced a nail-biting finish with the top four separated by just 1.6 seconds.
The frosty atmosphere between the Mercedes pair as they waited for the podium ceremony spoke volumes, with Rosberg hoisting the sport's 86-year-old commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone into the air but ignoring Hamilton.
There was minimal eye contact, let alone a handshake.
The hug, the handshakes and somewhat forced-sounding words of congratulation, eventually came on the podium.
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Mercedes' Rosberg celebrates his title win alongside team mate Hamilton and wife Vivian REUTERS
Rosberg, who had needed only to finish in the top three to be sure of the title, settled into second at the start as Hamilton streaked clear from pole position but the Briton's strategy was immediately apparent.
He made little effort to build up a commanding lead, knowing that his only hope of becoming Britain's first four-times champion depended on denying Rosberg clear air and allowing rivals to get close enough to pass.
Rosberg, his country's third champion after Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, held his nerve but the tears flowed afterwards.
As he crossed the line, the son of 1982 title-winner Keke Rosberg let out a whoop of relief and joy as he became only the second son of a world champion, after Britain's Damon Hill, to take the crown.
In another emotional touch, the tearful 31-year-old's wife Vivian spoke to him over the team radio on his slowing-down lap to tell him how proud she was.
Hamilton, the first driver to win 10 races without taking the title, was left facing unimpressed bosses despite securing the team's record 19th win in 21 grands prix.
Others came to his defence, however, with Red Bull principal Christian Horner saying his actions were only to be expected.
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Mercedes' Hamilton talks with Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel on the podium REUTERS
Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished fourth, another remarkable race for the Dutch teenager who spun at the start and fought back from last place. His Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo was fifth.
Verstappen also provided one of Rosberg's more heart-stopping moments on lap 20 when the German was told he had to get past the 19-year-old, who had yet to pit and was running in second place.
He pulled off the move, exercising caution with determination.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen finished sixth with Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez seventh and eighth to clinch the team's fourth place in the championship.
Brazilian Felipe Massa, for Williams, was ninth in his 250th and final race with Fernando Alonso scoring the last point for McLaren.
The Spaniard's team mate Jenson Button, the 2009 champion who is also departing the scene, retired early on with a broken front suspension.
Father and son champions in F1
Nico and Keke Rosberg
Damon and Graham Hill
Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve
1. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 385 points
2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 380
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 256
4. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 212
5. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull 204
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 186
7. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 101
8. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 85
9. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 72
10. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 54
11. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 53
12. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso 46
13. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas 29
14. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso 25
15. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 21
16. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Renault 7
17. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber 2
18. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 1
19. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Manor 1
20. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren 1
21. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Haas 0
22. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber 0
23. Esteban Ocon (France) Manor 0
24. Rio Haryanto (Indonesia) Manor 0
1. Mercedes 765 points
2. Red Bull - TAG Heuer 468
3. Ferrari 398
4. Force India - Mercedes 173
5. Williams-Mercedes 138
6. McLaren 76
7. Toro Rosso - Ferrari 63
8. Haas - Ferrari 29
9. Renault 8
10. Sauber - Ferrari 2
11. Manor - Mercedes 1