Lewis Hamilton Cruises Too F1 Drivers World Championship In Abu Dhabi
Nico Rosberg may have taken the headlines after securing pole position during Saturday’s qualifying but it was team mate Lewis Hamilton who took the F1 world drivers’ crown after securing an easy victory on race day.
All Hamilton had to do was finish the race in second to take the 2014 championship, the 2008 world champion initially had to settle for 2nd on the grid as yet again the Mercedes team were ahead, albeit narrowly so compared to recent form. The Williams duo of Bottas and Massa were third and fourth while the Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Vettel were demoted from 5th and 6th place for a technical infringement and were sent to the back of the grid. This was too the benefit of Torro Rosso’s Daniel Kvyat and McLaren’s Jenson Button.
As the Red lights went out for Sunday’s Grand Prix the favorite for the race win, Nico Rosberg, got bogged down with wheel spin and Hamilton hurtled into the lead unopposed with Rosberg now the hunter and Hamilton the prey. The race itself was rather muted, a follow thy car in front, such is the nature of the Abu Dhabi grand prix track.
The first 24 laps were marked by positional changes at the start and later on as a result of early pit stops. At the front Rosberg kept a watching brief on his rival and was no more than 2 seconds behind. Lap 24 of the 55 lap race was the start of a downward spiral for Rosberg.
Rosberg’s Mercedes began to slow, he first lost the ERS (energy recovery system) and then began to suffer various system faults and within the next few laps hope gathered into a storm of disappointment. Rosberg began to fade out of contention and into the hands of those behind, the speed and reliability of his Mercedes had abandoned him when he needed it most.
By contrast teammate Hamilton virtually cruised to victory scoring his 11th win of the season and at the closing stages of the race even allowed the second placed William’s, driven by Felipe Massa, to close within a few seconds of the last few laps. And as Hamilton crossed the line to meet the checkered flag and signal the race end, the Rosberg threat was finally vanquished, the second Williams of Valtteri Bottas took third.
Despite starting from the back of the grid, Daniel Ricciardo finished in 4th place and McLaren’s Jenson Button in 5th. The Force India’s driven by Hulkenberg and Perez finished 6th and 7th respectively and Sebastian Vettel closed the chapter on his Red Bull career with an 8th place finish. The Ferrari’s of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen rounded off the last points finishing positions in what was a miserable season for the Scuderia.
And where did Rosberg finish? 14th and lapped, during the last few laps his team ordered him into the pits as by now his Mercedes was well past its race condition best. Rosberg refused and wanted to finish what he had begun and the team allowed him some measure of dignity. They say pride comes before a fall, but this wasn’t pride it was Rosberg still believing a similar fate could befall his team mate. It didn’t.
The only fate that did befall Hamilton was to finally mark the ending of the 2014 battle for the F1 driver’s world championship, it was closely fought between the two Mercedes drivers and often mired in incidents and controversies. And when the dust settled in Abu Dhabi Rosberg gained a whole new level of respect for his post race sportsmanship, Belgium is wiped clean from the slate. But it was Lewis Hamilton who gained the most valuable jewel in the drivers crown.
And I have got to stop because I have got a lump in my throat.
2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Results:
|2||19||Felipe Massa||Williams-Mercedes||55||+2.5 secs||4||36|
|3||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Mercedes||55||+28.8 secs||3||30|
|4||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||55||+37.2 secs||20||24|
|5||22||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||55||+60.3 secs||6||20|
|6||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||55||+62.1 secs||12||16|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||55||+71.0 secs||11||12|
|8||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||55||+72.0 secs||19||8|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||55||+85.8 secs||8||4|
|10||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||55||+87.8 secs||7||2|
|11||20||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||55||+90.3 secs||9|
|12||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Renault||55||+91.9 secs||10|
|13||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||54||+1 Lap||18|
|14||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||54||+1 Lap||1|
|15||21||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||54||+1 Lap||14|
|16||99||Adrian Sutil||Sauber-Ferrari||54||+1 Lap||13|
|17||46||Will Stevens||Caterham-Renault||54||+1 Lap||17|
|Ret||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||26||Power unit||15|
|Ret||26||Daniil Kvyat||STR-Renault||14||Power unit||5|
Note – Ricciardo, Vettel excluded from qualifying, illegal front wings; pit-lane start after parc ferme changes. Grosjean qualified P16, 20-place grid penalty for power unit changes, incurred an in-race drive-through penalty in lieu of undropped places.