F1 championship guaranteed to be decided in Abu Dhabi

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The 2014 Formula 1 world championship is guaranteed to be decided at the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi after Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished first and second in today’s United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton clinched his fifth consecutive victory at the Circuit of The Americas to move into a 24-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship as Rosberg was forced to settle for second place.

MORE: Watch a full replay of the U.S. Grand Prix

However, even if he wins next weekend’s race in Brazil and Rosberg retires, Hamilton’s 49-point advantage would not be enough to secure him the title ahead of the final double points round in Abu Dhabi.

In a controversial new rule for the 2014 season, the last race of the year is worth double, meaning that the winner picks up 50 points for victory at Yas Marina.

This means that Hamilton could theoretically finish the season with 11 wins to Rosberg’s five and still lose the championship by a single point at the final round.

Without this ruling, Hamilton would have needed to outscore Rosberg by just a point to be crowed champion next weekend in Brazil. Instead, he will have to ensure that he maintains his excellent form right the way to the end of the season.

He did however break Nigel Mansell’s record for the most number of grand prix victories by a British driver today in Austin, and also joined an elite club comprising of Michael Schumacher, Jim Clark and Graham Hill that have won three times in the United States.

Today’s race did see Daniel Ricciardo get ruled out of contention for the drivers’ championship, though. Although he finished an excellent third behind the two Mercedes drivers, the Australian now trails Hamilton by 102 points at the top of the standings with 75 left on offer.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.