Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hamilton Triumphs Over Rosberg for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and 2014 Championship Victory

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

The last race of a 19-race tour started in mid-March in Australia, a 20-car field of advanced gasoline/electric hybrid Formula 1 race vehicles sat on the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. During 18 races, the clean slate that drivers and teams entered 2014 filled up in the favour of Mercedes AMG. Winning 15 races before arriving in the United Arab Emirates, Lewis Hamilton's late-season roll has permitted him to stand 17 pounds ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg. With the championship on the line thanks to double points being awarded for the final grand prix of 2014, Rosberg charged to the pole on Saturday with no plans of letting the title slip away. Only 55 laps remained to decide which one of the Mercedes AMG teammates would be crowned the 2014 Formula 1 World Drivers' Championship.

Right from the time the lights went out to start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton set out to do everything he needed to go to lock up the 2014 championship. Hamilton seize a poor start by the pole-sitting Mercedes AMG race car to gain the lead right off the bat. By the second lap, Hamilton held a 1.4-second advantage ahead of Rosberg.

Behind the Mercedes AMG cars, the final start of the 2014 Formula 1 season did not go without incident. Realistically driving for his job with McLaren in 2015, Kevin Magnussen made contact with both Nico Hulkenberg and Adrian Sutil on lap 1 of the race. By closer examination by the race stewards, it was ruled that Hulkenberg was at-fault for forcing Magnussen's McLaren off the track. Kevin Magnussen continued to the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but was unable to score points. Despite a five-second penalty levied against him, Nico Hulkenberg brought his Force India-Mercedes across the line in sixth place.

Photo credit: Pirelli Photo Service

A race starting late in the afternoon at the Yas Marina Circuit, natural light from a boiling sun lessened on the 5.554-kilometer track. With much of the field starting on Pirelli supersoft slick tires, pit stops came early for the Mercedes AMG cars with Hamilton in on lap 10 and Rosberg pitting on lap 11. Felipe Massa was able to lead the grand prix briefly until he pitted on lap 14. Lewis Hamilton regained the lead with a 2.3-second interval on Nico Rosberg as the two Mercedes AMG cars lapped at the top of the field.

While Lewis Hamilton appeared to be maintaining the upper hand on his teammate by the time the race was reaching half distance, the championship challenge attempt of Nico Rosberg lost momentum (literally). Around lap 24 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Mercedes AMG race car of Rosberg was lapping the Yas Marina Circuit slower. Through telemetry, the team realized the lost pace on track was the result of the Energy Recovery System (ERS) failing. Typically resulting in over 150 horsepower from the integrated gasoline/electric powertrain of the Mercedes AMG W05 Hybrid race car, Rosberg quickly lost ground with Hamilton and was caught and passed by Felipe Massa on lap 27. Running slower than the pace of the leaders, Rosberg backslid through the field. Through the mechanical gremlins biting the car of Rosberg, the 2014 championship because Hamilton's. Showing the poise of a champion, Rosberg would heroically finish the race in his wounded race machine in 14th place.

Without having to even finish the race the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Nico Rosberg dropped down the running order, Lewis Hamilton was by no means willing to quit. Maintaining the pace he showed all this season, Hamilton concluded the 2014 season crossing the finish line at the Yas Marina Circuit first. Collecting his 11th win for the year, the newly-crowned two-time Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion Lewis Hamilton tied himself with the second-most in a season with Michael Schumacher in 2002 and Sebastian Vettel in 2011. When Hamilton won his first championship in 2008, he captured only five grand prix victories.

Driving for the modern Silver Arrows, Hamilton's win marks the first drivers' title for a full-fledged Mercedes-Benz factory Formula 1 driver since Juan Manuel Fangio's 1955 championship. Following the event, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG Dr. Dieter Zetsche said in a statement from the German automaker, “He has truly earned that title with a fantastic performance this year. At the same time, I would also like to congratulate his team-mate Nico Rosberg and all of our staff in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart on this fascinating and highly successful season.". On the Mercedes AMG team's website, Lewis Hamilton was recorded saying he felt ".. a bit lost for words really".

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

Capturing two spots on the podium, the Williams Martini Racing organization finishes off what has been a productive 2014 season. A season-best grand prix result for Felipe Massa, he leapfrogged his teammate Valtteri Bottas early in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and stayed ahead for the checkered flag. Finishing within 2.5 seconds of the factory team, the customer Mercedes-Benz engine inside the Williams of Massa got close to Hamilton at the end. "It was good to be racing and pushing the Mercedes. I hope this is a strong building block to go on for next year. The team progressed so much throughout the year, which is why we were able to get podiums in the second half of the season; we will continue this forward movement into next year." said Felipe Massa in a team release. Posting more consistent results in 2014, Bottas claims a higher position in the overall drivers' standings after 19 races. In fourth place, Valtteri Bottas is the highest placed non-winner in the points launching over Sebastian Vettel thanks to the double points headed out at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

With six Mercedes-Benz powered cars finishing in the top-10 after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, many of customer teams performed well in the season finale. Besides the already-mentioned Williams team, Jenson Button took fifth place with a McLaren-Mercedes in what was the last race where the team and engine supplier will be together. With both cars finishing in the points, Force India posted a total of 28 points as Nico Hulkenberg finished sixth and Sergio Perez crossed the line in seventh.

With qualifying times excluded due to a rules infraction on their Red Bull-Renault race cars, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel ended the 55-lap distance inside the top-10. In fact, Ricciardo finished in fourth place, 8.3 seconds behind third place. Vettel finished in eighth place in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix driving his Red Bull-Renault. Finishing 2014 fifth overall in the drivers' standings for 2014, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing ends the season much differentially than 2013. Already announced as leaving Red Bull Racing after capturing four world drivers' championships in a row with the outfit, Vettel's new home in Formula 1 should be confirmed soon. Strongest rumours indicate the German will be driving a Ferrari next season.

Photo Credit: Pirelli Photo Service

The Red Bull Racing cars existed as the only Renault-powered competitors to score points at Abu Dhabi. Jean-Eric Vergne driving for Toro Rosso finished 12th while Lotus F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean crossed the line 13th, one lap down. The Caterham car driven by Will Stevens in his first-ever Formula 1 race went the whole distance of the event to finish 17th but the teammate driver of Kamui Kobayashi retired due to a bad vibration. Renault's showing in the final race was also embarrassed by a reported electronic problem on the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat and a fiery eruption of the powerplant on the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado.

In the final two point-paying positions, the red Ferrari race cars with Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen allowed the Italian team to capture fourth in the constructors' points. Along with Vettel, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marked the final race that Fernando Alonso would run with Ferrari. Finishing 2nd overall on three occasions, Alonso's time at Ferrari was fruitful but concluded without the ultimate goal the driver/team pairing had wanted.

After 19 races, the 2014 Formula 1 season concludes with a fantastic show of dominance by the Mercedes AMG team and another championship for Lewis Hamilton. With the 2015 season four months away, the victors will possibly spare themselves a little time to celebrate their success this season before turning attention to next year.

2014 Formula 1
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Race Results

Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine

1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
2 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes-Benz
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Renault
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault
5 22 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes-Benz
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes-Benz
7 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes-Benz
8 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault
9 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari
10 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari
11 22 Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes-Benz
12 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
13 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault
14 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
15 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari
16 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber Ferrari
17 46 Will Stevens Caterham Renault
18 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham Renault
19 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Renault
20 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault

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