17 points separate the title rivals going into the season finale.
Nico Rosberg managed to convert his pole position into race victory Sunday, taking the chequered flag and becoming the winner of the FIA Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix.
Rosberg’s race result means that he has picked up his maiden victory at the Sao Paulo circuit and crucially, has closed the gap between himself and team mate, Lewis Hamilton in the battle for the Drivers’ title.
Closing the gap
Rosberg now trails Hamilton by 17 points in the standings and it means that the Drivers’ World Championship will be decided at the last race of the season, when the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place in two weeks’ time.
Hamilton finished the 71 lap marathon behind Rosberg to secure second place for himself. Mercedes as a team achieved their 11th one-two finish of the season with Rosberg and Hamilton’s race results.
Massa thrills home crowd
Williams’ driver, Felipe Massa had a good end to his race weekend in front of his home crowd, as he grabbed the third and final place on the podium to complete the top three.
Massa was at the forefront of the action on two occasions during the race but in unfortunate circumstances. The Brazilian driver found himself under investigation by the stewards on lap eight for the purpose of speeding in the pit lane. Massa was issued with a five second stop and go penalty as a result.
Massa also had a pit stop palaver during in the race, when he entered the McLaren pit box in error and was swiftly waved on by the mechanics to the Williams pit box.
Button with a strong showing
McLaren’s Jenson Button maintained his successful track record from previous races at Interlagos. The 2009 World Champion just missed out on a podium place to Massa, but he picked up some valuable Championship points for himself in fourth place.
Vettel inside T5 as Ricciardo fails to finish
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel followed behind Button to take fifth place. The reigning World Champion was the sole car flying the flag for the team, when Daniel Ricciardo entered the pits around lap 41 and he retired from the action due to front suspension failure on his car.
The Ferrari fight
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso pipped his team mate, Kimi Raikkonen in terms of finishing the race higher up the order. The Spaniard completed the proceedings in sixth place and Raikkonen claimed seventh place for himself. Raikkonen’s race was not entirely problem free, as he experienced a delay in his pit stop on lap 36 due to front jack failure. The Finnish driver was able to get back on track after his pit stop and he continued in the race.
Hulkenberg back in the points
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg appeared to put in a strong performance in the race, as he managed his tyres and went quite far into the race before making his first pit stop. The German driver crossed the finish line in eighth place and he picked up some Championship points for himself and the team in the process.
Hulkenberg’s team mate, Sergio Perez finished the race outside of a point scoring position and he also came under fire by the stewards on lap 30. The Mexican driver was issued with a five second stop and go penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Button’s team mate, Kevin Magnussen trailed the Englishman and he completed the race a few places further down the field. The Danish driver claimed ninth place for himself and Massa’s team mate, Valtteri Bottas ended the race just behind him to secure the 10th and final point scoring position.
Rough day for Bottas
Bottas experienced a couple of unfortunate delays during his pit stops in the race. The Finnish driver reportedly had a problem with his seat belt and the mechanics were spotted trying to resolve the issue inside the cockpit. On lap 44, Bottas had another delay when he visited the pits and the mechanics cleared debris from the front and rear wings on his car before he got back on track again.
The rest of the field
Beyond the top 10, 16 of the 18 starters finished the race. Adrian Sutil was last of those who made it to the stripe. Aside from Riccardo’s aforementioned retirement from the race, Lotus Renault’s Romain Grosjean was the only other driver who failed to reach the finish line. Grosjean was told via the team radio to stop the car as he came to a standstill at the side of the track on lap 66.
The drivers and teams now have two weeks to prepare until the season finale takes place at the spectacle of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It is certain that Hamilton and Rosberg will particularly be in the limelight, as they battle against each other on the track and at the end of the race, one of them will win the Drivers’ title and become the 2014 World Champion. It remains to be seen who will come out on top as today has shown how narrow the margin is between the pair. Hamilton will need to finish in second place or win the race in order to take the title and time will tell who will claim the ultimate prize of the season. Remember, there are double points up for grabs.