The 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship has been decided!
Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag as the winner of the FIA Formula One 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and in doing so; he has clinched the Drivers’ title to become a double World Champion.
Hamilton has had to wait six years to get another title under his belt with the first time being back in 2008. Only two other drivers (Lauda and Brabham) have had such a gap between championships. To do it as two different teams is a feat within itself as well.
Hamilton’s route to the race victory and securing the Drivers’ title began on the first lap of the 55 lap marathon, as he immediately took the lead from his team mate and pole sitter, Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg's ERS issues
Rosberg’s chances of taking it for himself suddenly looked bleak on lap 25, when the German driver was running in second place at the time and Hamilton was leading the race. Rosberg reported via the team radio that he was ‘losing engine power’.
The team then replied to Rosberg and informed him that the Energy Recovery System (ERS) had failed on his car. Rosberg managed the problem and continued in the race. The team old him to retire the car on lap 54 but he advised that he wanted to go to the end, which they allowed.
As a result of the problems Rosberg was experiencing with his car, he fell down the field and finished the last race of the season out of the points and in 14th place.
Williams claims a double podium
With Rosberg out of contention, the newly crowned World Champion’s closest threat came from Williams’ Felipe Massa in the final few laps of the race. On super softs, Massa was hell bent to end his winless drought, tearing apart the ten second gap that stood between he and Hamilton. He came within 2.5 seconds of the leas, but failed to reach the leading driver.
Valtteri Bottas claimed third place, marking Williams' first double podium since the 2005 Monaco GP.
Ricciardo drives through the field and almost onto the podium
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo missed out on a podium finish to Bottas, settling in fourth but it was still an impressive comeback. He and team mate, Sebastian Vettel began the proceedings from the pit lane. The Red Bull duo were disqualified from qualifying, as the stewards found that their flexing front wings did not comply with the regulations.
Vettel completed the race in eighth place, 34 seconds behind his team mate. Vettel not only lost his hold on the Drivers’ Championship today after a four year reign, but his time at Red Bull has also come to an end, as he will begin a new chapter when he joins Ferrari next year.
McLaren’s Jenson Button was promoted to sixth place prior to the race start after Riccardo and Vettel were disqualified from qualifying. Button had originally finished Q3 in eighth place yesterday. The 2009 World Champion’s future in Formula One remains uncertain as McLaren are still to confirm their driver line-up for next season. The Englishman followed behind Ricciardo to secure a fifth and did some post-race donuts to the excitement of the fans.
Hulkenberg overcomes penalty
Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg were under investigation for the purpose of forcing another driver off the track on the opening lap. Hulkenberg was found to be at fault for the incident with Magnussen and he was issued with a five second stop and go penalty. Prior to the stewards investigating the incident, Magnussen reported via the team radio that he suspected there was front suspension damage on his car. The Danish driver continued in the race, but he finished the action out of the points in 11th place.
Hulkenberg managed to overcome the early setback, finishing a strong sixth. Hulkenberg’s team mate, Sergio Perez trailed him by a single position in seventh.
The Ferrari duo of Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen seemed to keep out of the limelight in the race. Alonso and Raikkonen crossed the finish line in ninth and 10th place respectively, failing to do any more as Ferrari's dismal season came to a close.
The Caterham team had one driver who was left flying the flag for the team in the remainder of the race, in the form of Will Stevens who made his Formula One race debut this weekend. Caterham were able to compete in the race following a crowd funding initiative, which raised enough for them to do so. Stevens’ team mate, Kamui Kobayashi sadly retired from the race on lap 44. The Japanese driver had reportedly returned to the pits and did not take to the track again in the race, but the reason for his retirement from the action is still to be confirmed.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was another driver who failed to reach the finish line. The Russian driver came to a standstill on the track on lap 16 of the race, pushed to safety by the marshals.
Maldonado's season ends in flames
The third and final retiree from the race today was Lotus Renault’s Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan driver suddenly pulled off the track on lap 28 and he made a quick exit from his car which had burst into flames at the rear. It was suspected that the cause of the fire on Maldonado’s car was due to engine failure. They will be switching from Renault to Mercedes power for 2015.
Hamilton proved to be the best once again today, as he went on to take the race victory and clinch the ultimate prize and become the 2014 Formula One World Champion. Although double points were introduced for just the final race of the season today, for Hamilton it was not a necessity in the end as team mate, Rosberg fell down the field due to unfortunate electrical problems on his car. Hamilton sealed the title with 384 points to his name, while Rosberg ended the season with 317.