ABU DHABI – Lewis Hamilton has been crowned the 2014 Formula 1 world champion in Abu Dhabi today after winning at Yas Marina Circuit, with title rival Nico Rosberg suffering a partial engine failure that left him languishing down in 13th place.
After passing Rosberg for the lead at the start, Hamilton enjoyed an advantage of a few seconds over his teammate until after the first round of pit stops when Rosberg’s pace plummeted, with the team quickly diagnosing an ERS failure on his Mercedes car.
As a result, he was unable to put up any kind of challenge to Hamilton, who crossed the line 2.5 seconds ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa to clinch his second Formula 1 world championship following his success in 2008.
Off the line, Hamilton made a perfect start to storm past Rosberg into the first corner and take the lead of the race, leaving his teammate watching his mirrors for the advances of Williams’ Felipe Massa in third place. Valtteri Bottas made a poor start to drop down the order. Contact with Adrian Sutil saw Kevin Magnussen fall outside of the top ten, whilst the Red Bull duo, starting from the pit lane, began to plot their path towards the points.
Hamilton soon began to put the hammer down, eking out a gap to Rosberg and moving outside of DRS range. Further back, the two Ferraris fought for position, but Fernando Alonso dived into the pits just a few corners after passing Kimi Raikkonen, sparking the first round of pit stops. Raikkonen dived in one lap later after losing a position to Daniil Kvyat, but could not pass the Russian in the pits.
The Mercedes and Williams drivers in the top four opted to wait a few laps longer before stopping, with Hamilton and Bottas the first of the quartet to take on fresh tires. Rosberg was told to “push like hell” on his extra lap out on track, but emerged from the pit lane after stopping behind his teammate once again. Two laps later, Massa pitted from the lead, releasing Hamilton at the front with a 2.5 second lead over Rosberg.
Having started on the prime tire in the pit lane, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo moved up into the top ten when the option runners pitted, but soon dropped down again when they made their first pit stop. Ricciardo, running fourth before stopping, was told not to embroil himself in a fight with the chasing Bottas, who duly passed the Red Bull driver to make up for his poor start.
Rosberg was told to manage the gap to Hamilton, with his engineers planning to run him longer than the Briton. However, a mistake on lap 23 saw him lose a huge amount of time to his teammate, falling to over seven seconds behind. He soon reported that he was “losing engine power”, with Mercedes saying that there had been an ERS failure on the W05. Within a couple of laps, Massa had eased past Rosberg in the Williams – his title bid was falling to pieces.
Massa, on the other hand, started to show signs of being a candidate to win the race when Hamilton also began to lose a great deal of time. Mercedes brought the Briton into the pits for another set of prime tires, with the Briton emerging behind Rosberg on track. However, Hamilton had no problem at all passing his title rival, who asked his team to simply get him to the flag “as safely as possible”, falling to fourth behind Bottas just one lap later.
With his car still ailing, Rosberg asked the team if he could still finish in a high enough position to win the title if Hamilton were to retire, but his engineer was skeptical. After pitting, the German sat sixth before falling behind Nico Hulkenberg, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Butotn, putting up very little resistance to their advances.
At the front, Massa continued to lead, going deep into the race before making his second pit stop, eventually coming in on lap 44. The longer second stint allowed the Brazilian to move onto the super-soft tire in a bid to catch Hamilton, trailing by 11 seconds upon exiting the pit lane.
Following Massa’s example, both Red Bull drivers waited until late in the day before making their final pit stops, fitting option tires for a last-ditch blitz towards the end of the race. Lying fourth, the Australian driver had more than made up for his exclusion from qualifying on Saturday night.
Massa began to close up on Hamilton at the front in the dying stages of the race, but could not get close enough. This day belonged to the Briton, who crossed the line after 55 laps at Yas Marina to claim his 11th win of the season and, more importantly, his second Formula 1 world championship.
Despite a spirited effort, Massa could not quite catch Hamilton, but did secure his best finish in two years in second place. Completing the podium for Williams was Valtteri Bottas, giving the team its best result of the year at the double points round.
Daniel Ricciardo finished an excellent fourth for Red Bull with Jenson Button fifth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg. Sergio Perez gave Force India a double points finish to the season in seventh ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
Rosberg came home in a lowly 14th, ignoring the call to retire with a few laps to go, and finishes a full 67 points behind Hamilton in the final standings. Mercedes technical boss Paddy Lowe sent his commiserations to the German over the radio, saying that he would come back stronger in 2015, but he will know that this was a big chance missed.
With this title win though, Hamilton becomes the first multiple British world champion since Sir Jackie Stewart in 1973, firmly taking his place among the legends of the sport with more than one championship.