- Abu Dhabi GP - Race
Hamilton secures second title with Abu Dhabi victory
Lewis Hamilton finally fulfilled his six-year dream of a second world title by winning the 2014 championship with victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Rival Nico Rosberg saw his hopes slip away with car trouble that eventually dropped him to 14th and out of contention.
The Story of the Race
- Shock: Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso battling tooth and nail for tenth position in the latter stages of the race. A reminder just how big the sea change has been in F1 this season.
- Shocker: A fiery finish to Pastor Maldonado's race as Lotus' dire season finished how it began.
- Best overtake: Jenson Button and Alonso had a super battle on lap 30 but Nico Hulkenberg's pass on the Spaniard 13 laps later was a reminder of what a special talent Force India has at its disposal.
- Best lap: Lap one for Lewis Hamilton set the tone for the rest of the race, passing Rosberg into the first corner.
- Worst lap: Rosberg started to slow on lap 25. His title hopes had already faded in the opening half of the race, but they fell apart completely as an Energy Recovery System (ERS) issue made the outcome a formality.
- Drive of the day: It has to be Lewis Hamilton. His thundering start was hugely impressive under pressure and even though Rosberg had issues the Brit was in control of the race throughout.
- Nate Saunders
Hamilton has been waiting for a second world title since he won in dramatic fashion in 2008, but managed to settle his nerves early in the race on Sunday by taking advantage of Rosberg's poor start and assuming the lead into Turn 1. A problem with Rosberg's Energy Recovery System (ERS) started to emerge around lap 23, reducing power as well as causing problems under braking. He managed to finish the race, but his hopes of a world title will have to wait at least another year at least.
The issue saw Rosberg haemorrhage positions throughout the second half of the race as he tried but failed to hang on to a fifth-place finish - his only chance of taking the title if Hamilton retired. Hamilton reacted by turning down his power settings and nursing his car home, which allowed Felipe Massa in second to close in during the final stint of the race and finish just 2.5s off the Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas took the final place on the podium to round off a resurgent season for Williams and ensure it took third place in the constructors' championship.
Rosberg's dream started to fade as soon as the lights went out at the start and Hamilton bolted past him to comfortably take the lead into the first corner. He ran a close second to his team-mate for the first half of the race, but a mistake under braking for Turn 17 was the first sign that something had gone awry. Two laps later his team informed him of his ERS issue, which not only reduced power by roughly 160bhp but also made the car unpredictable under braking.
By lap 27 he had lost second place to Massa and continued to drop down the order until the chequered flag. Mercedes attempted to retire his car, but Rosberg said he wanted to remain on track until the very end of the race. It hardly seemed like a fitting end to the year-long battle between the two Mercedes drivers, but Hamilton's 11th victory in 19 races leaves little doubt that 2014 has a very deserving champion.
Outside the top three, Daniel Ricciardo pulled off a hugely impressive race from a pit lane start to fourth place at the finish. Both Red Bulls had to start from the pits after qualifying with an illegal front wing, but Ricciardo made up for Saturday's disappointment in style. McLaren's Jenson Button took fifth in what may be his final race in Formula One ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who, like Ricciardo, used an alternative strategy to finish sixth for Force India ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.
Summing up his final season for Red Bull before moving to Ferrari, ex-champion Sebastian Vettel could not match team-mate Ricciardo and finished eighth behind Perez. Fernando Alonso took ninth in his final race for Ferrari after his pace dropped off towards the end of the race. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished two seconds off Alonso to take the final point on offer and wave goodbye to a forgettable year with Ferrari.
But Hamilton was the star on Sunday night as he held on to achieve his stated aim of securing the title with victory under the lights in Abu Dhabi. As the post-race fireworks made way for the British national anthem on the podium, he was clearly holding back tears of emotion in front of a pit lane packed with his team and supporters below.