The entire 2014 Formula 1 season has been building up to this moment, the final race in Abu Dhabi. The world championship determiner has been dubbed the Decider in the Desert and it did seem that it was Lewis Hamilton’s title to lose.
Mercedes vs Mercedes
Hamilton, and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, have been battling it out over the season for the coveted title, only 17 points separating the pair as they stepped up for the climactic finale.
Rosberg shone in the penultimate outing of Brazil, winning the race from pole position to give himself an advantage in Abu Dhabi. With double points enforced, to win the title Hamilton had to finish ahead of Rosberg. If the German won the race his rival would have to finish third or lower for him to take the crown.
Rosberg began his weekend well, starting from pole position. But he was hindered by a poor start as Hamilton took the lead away from him going into Turn One.
There was some great overtaking with tussles between team-mate Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, as well as ex-team-mates Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, the latter of whom gained the position. Vergne was driving for his career after news has spread that he will not be kept on at Toro Rosso for next season. It was also the end of an era for Alonso as he is set to leave Ferrari for McLaren.
The first retirement came from Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat as he pulled off track but it was really no skin off of his nose as he joins Ricciardo at Red Bull next year and will have plenty of opportunity to show his prowess. Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado was forced to retire after the rear of his car burst into flames, a poor end to a poor season for the Venezuelan. Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi also retired, but it was a great performance from his team-mate Will Stevens who, despite finishing last, completed his first ever grand prix.
By lap 26 Rosberg was suffering with power failure but he continued on determinedly, the championship now firmly out of his sights as he fell back out of the points. He did incredibly to even keep the car running to the chequered flag. It was likely all over for the German but he kept up the fight, refusing to retire on the final laps and instead choosing to cross the line.
Felipe Massa lead sections of the race for Williams but sadly didn’t quite manage the win, finishing on the podium in a well-deserved second with team-mate Bottas rounding off the top three, a fantastic season for both drivers and the team as a whole.
Hamilton emphatically won the final race of the season, winning his second world title, joining a handful of Brits in motorsport history. He will almost certainly remain a legend in British motorsport. It was a perfect day for the Brit, even receiving a congratulatory message from Prince Harry over team radio.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 23, 2014
But with one happy face came a few sad others. Rosberg did lose the title, but with grace and humility. Over team radio he congratulated his team-mate, later sneaking into the backstage area near the podium to shake his hand and offer a hug. When interviewed Nico seemed clearly disappointed but happy with his performance and the strength of the team as a whole.
Tough end.Would have loved to fight til last corner. Congrats, lewis.u deserve the title. Special year with the team. pic.twitter.com/RHzCFvtK3n
— Nico Rosberg (@nico_rosberg) November 23, 2014
Photo Credit: Twitter
For McLaren’s Jenson Button and his numerous fans worldwide it was also an unhappy time as it is likely that the loveable Brit will not have a drive come 2015. With McLaren not yet having announced their line-up all will be waiting with baited breath in hope that the one time world champion will remain in the sport.
For now Mercedes and Hamilton will be having one hell of a celebration. For fans the season is now over but we can still wait for news and gossip over the winter season before testing begins again in January.
— Mercedes-AMG (@MercedesAMG) November 23, 2014
The first race of the new 2015 season will once again be held in Melbourne, this time on 15 March. We’ll see you there. It really could not come sooner.