Hamilton Clinches F1 Title in Abu Dhabi
The final Grand Prix of the 2014 season took place November 22 on the magnificent Yas Marina circuit in the heart of Abu Dhabi.
The floodlit race was packed with spectators and celebrities alike, all eager to see the final conclusion of the Championship rivalry between the two titans of the Mercedes team.
Entering the race, Rosberg had taken pole position with Hamilton marginally behind him. Rosberg was 17 points behind the Brit, with double-points meaning that if he won, Hamilton would have to come third or lower in order for the German to take the title.
Unfortunately for Nico, threats to the Mercedes front runners were few in number due to a mistake by the Red Bull team during qualifying, which meant both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, in his last race for the team, were forced to start from the pit lane despite good lap times.
With the Williams drivers as his only practical hope for holding back Lewis, Rosberg was already on a wing and a prayer as they pulled into the grid.
All About the Start
The race had a very clean start, but Rosberg struggled to get away and Hamilton used his car’s superb straight-line speed to flash past the German and take the lead. Nico was staying close behind him though, keeping the gap below 2.5 seconds, hoping to strategise and pass Lewis at the pit stops.
It seemed to be a good strategy and may have paid off for him, but sadly misfortune struck; his power unit began to fail about halfway through, and soon both Williams, both Red Bulls (who miraculously managed to come up into the top ten quite quickly after starting so far back) and the Ferrari of Alonso had passed his struggling car.
Rosberg fought on, reasoning that if he could stay in fifth or sixth place and Hamilton was somehow to get a DNF, he would still win the Championship.
He valiantly struggled for the entire race, watching himself slowly sliding down the order as sub-par cars overtook him in his limping Mercedes. On lap 52, in 12th place, the call came down the radio for Nico to retire, but in a show of great determination and sportsmanship, Nico refused.
"I’d like to go to the end," he said to his team, and sure enough dragged his car over the line three laps later. Hamilton had no technical failures throughout, however, and without Nico there was no other car on the track that could realistically challenge the Mercedes for the win.
Hamilton’s Triumph Caps Great Season for UK Motorsport
Hamilton came home in first place, winning the Drivers’ Championship in style, much to the delight of his friends, family and Prince Harry, who was attending the race and who spoke to him personally over the team radio.
Lewis took up a Union Flag for his victory lap with the words "Hammer Time" emblazoned on it, enjoying his second world title, his last one having been won against Felipe Massa in 2008.
Interestingly, it was Massa who chased Hamilton to the line; though he could not have taken the Championship this time, the Williams was catching Lewis fast on fresher tyres, and had the race gone much longer Massa could feasibly have taken victory; the double podium of Felipe and Valtteri Bottas was the feather in the cap of a fantastic season for Claire Williams and her team who will be delighted with the final results in both Championships.
Regrettably, there were a few non-finishers. Kamui Kobayashi was forced to retire due to technical problems, a massive blow for Caterham who had had to rely on public funding to enter the race and now face a very uncertain future.
Their new young English driver, Will Stevens, managed to finish in his first ever Grand Prix though, which was a great sign for the future of British racing alongside Hamilton’s decisive Championship victory.
Sadly for Daniel Ricciardo, he was also forced to retire due to mechanical issues which cut short a great run from him after starting from the pit lane; had he not had to quit, he could probably have finished in the top five or even got a podium.
Daniel Ricciardo ending a great debut season
This spectacular drive and unfortunate end sums up the Australian’s season, and we hope that next year he has better luck with his car and gets the opportunity to show off his impressive skills every single time.
Finally, there was a short bit of drama when Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus caught fire during the race and he was forced to pull off the track. Thankfully he was able to evacuate the car and nobody was hurt – the safety car was not needed in the end – and this disaster was the final straw for Lotus, who have had very little success in 2014, and who will certainly be glad to see the year ending.
The End of a Thrilling Season
So there we have it. The 2014 World Champion is Lewis Hamilton, and Mercedes won the Constructors’ Championship by a country mile.
Next season starts once again in Australia in March – for sure, there will be some drivers in different colours, some new drivers coming to the table and some drivers who may be saying goodbye to the sport for good.
It remains to be seen whether Caterham and Marussia Dortmund will be able to continue in their current forms, or will need to be taken on by investors or quit the sport altogether; we could very well be seeing three drivers for Red Bull and Ferrari next year which could lead to a super-competitive season in the top ten.
As the chequered flag comes down on this year’s Formula One season, the future looks very bright for British drivers, with both the GP3 and GP2 championships – traditionally the feeders for Formula One – being taken by young men from the sceptred isle.
It may be all over for now, but it’ll be back soon enough and once again, there’ll be everything to play for.
We’ll be looking forward to Silverstone and the British Grand Prix. Not only will Driver’s Champion Lewis Hamilton be defending his crown but we'll also be hosting our VIP weekend. You can fly directly to the track from anywhere in the country and enjoy a weekend of fine dining and epic battles on the track.
Call us on 01256 635000 or use this form to book your F1 trip of the year.