Hamilton clinches second F1 world title by winning Abu Dhabi GP

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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.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.