Welcome to our live coverage of the final race of the 2014 season from Abu Dhabi. Nico Rosberg took pole position ahead of Lewis Hamilton on Saturday as the two title protagonists take their battle to the end of the season. 17 points separate Hamilton and Rosberg, but with double points on offer this weekend, who will take the title?
Welcome to live text coverage of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on The Checkered Flag!
It is the final Grand Prix of the season, and the championship is yet to be decided!
17 points separate Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg ahead of the race, but with double points on offer anything can happen!
Fifty points are on offer today for a win, and 36 on offer for second, so all Hamilton needs to do is finish second behind Rosberg to clinch the title.
If Hamilton finishes ahead of Rosberg, he is champion. He has ten wins to Rosberg’s five but its all about consistency this season.
Rosberg has the advantage of pole position, but in the support races, the pole sitter has always been under pressure heading into turn 1.
Rosberg needs at least one other driver to get in between him and Hamilton at the end to take the title, and best placed are the Williams team, with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa third and fourth on the grid, and showing good speed.
Fifth and sixth should have been the two Red Bull’s, but they were disqualified after qualifying after their front wings failed a flex test.
Both Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo will be starting at the back of the pack from the pit lane.
Their disqualification moves Daniil Kvyat up to fifth on his final race for Toro Rosso before moving to Red Bull in 2015 in place of Vettel.
Vettel’s 2015 employees Ferrari qualified ninth and tenth, with Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Fernando Alonso, but will start seventh and eighth after RBR’s Disqualification.
Jenson Button is sixth for McLaren with Kevin Magnussen ninth, with both drivers still unsure about their futures both in the team and in the sport, with Alonso set to move to the team in 2015.
Jean-Eric Vergne will start tenth for Toro Rosso ahead of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg in the two Force India’s.
The two Sauber’s are P13 and P14 with Adrian Sutil ahead of Esteban Gutierrez, with Pastor Maldonado P15 for Lotus.
Kamui Kobayashi will start P16 for Caterham ahead of his new team-mate Will Stevens, who is making his F1 debut this weekend.
Last on the grid is Romain Grosjean after taking a grid penalty for changing his Internal Combustion Engine, Turbo and MGU-H ahead of the weekend, but the Frenchman will also have to take a drive-through penalty during the race.
And of course, starting from the pit lane are Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.
All eyes are on the battle at the front, with the title to be decided in the next few hours.
There will be 55 Laps of the Yas Marina Circuit, and with two DRS zones, one each down the two straights at the back of the circuit.
Also confirmed overnight was Sergio Perez’s new contract with Force India, with the Mexican signing a ‘multi-year’ deal with the team.
The tyre warmers are coming off as drivers get ready for the parade lap ahead of the race.
Six drivers are starting on the soft tyre – Magnussen, Vergne, Perez, Hulkenberg, Vettel and Ricciardo, with the rest on the Supersoft.
The Williams/Ferrari battle for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship is another thing to watch, with Williams P3/P4 on the grid and Ferrari P7/P8.
Drivers lining up on the grid for the start. Vettel and Ricciardo are already at the end of the pit lane ready to go.
Hamilton jumps into the lead at the start, ahead of Rosberg, who made a bad start.
Hamilton made the best start, Rosberg just held on to second.
Massa is third but Valtteri Bottas has dropped to eighth.
Jenson Button is fourth ahead of Raikkonen and Alonso, with Kvyat holding off Bottas.
Its advantage Hamilton in the championship after lap 1 but its a long race.
Romain Grosjean has already taken his drive-through penalty.
Ricciardo is ahead of Vettel, with both Red Bull’s already ahead of Will Stevens’ Caterham
Hamilton holding the lead with relative ease at the end of lap three
DRS has been enabled.
Replays showed Magnussen having a small clash with first Hulkenberg and then Sutil on the opening lap.
Alonso has passed Raikkonen with the aid of DRS down the second straight, with the Finn then being passed by Daniil Kvyat.
Alonso is the first to pit to switch from the Supersoft to the Soft tyres.
But a good move from Kvyat on Raikkonen, who is dropping like a stone – Bottas has now passed his fellow Finn.
Hulkenberg the highest runner currently on the Soft tyre.
Button, Kvyat and Raikkonen pit at the end of lap 6.
Alonso struggles to pass the Caterham of Stevens but gets passed with DRS down the first straight.
Hamilton leads Rosberg, Massa and Bottas on lap 8, with those four having yet to take their first pit stop.
Hulkenberg is running fifth and is the highest placed soft tyre runner.
The Red Bull’s are both inside the top ten.
Hamilton almost 2.5 seconds ahead of Rosberg.
The Mercedes and Williams’ are still running on their Supersoft’s up front.
Hamilton is in the pits for his first stop.
Bottas also pits from P4, can he jump ahead of the guys he was racing with before the stops?
Nico Hulkenberg has been given a 5 second penalty for forcing Kevin Magnussen off the track on lap one.
Bottas has come out ahead of Button who was fourth ahead of the stops, but behind Vettel’s Red Bull.
One lap after Hamilton, Rosberg pits.
Massa leads for Williams who has yet to pit.
Good battle between Ricciardo and Vergne – STR team-mates in 2012/13 – with Vergne holding off Ricciardo for P6.
Vergne showing everyone what he can do as he fights for his future in F1 with the Frenchman possibly losing his STR drive.
The following lap Ricciardo gets Vergne at the same corner at the end of the back straight.
Massa pits from the lead, and rejoins behind the two Mercedes into third.
Hamilton still with the advantage in the championship.
Bottas passes Magnussen for P7
Rosberg still 2.3 seconds behind Hamilton.
Kvyat has retired from the Grand Prix, what a shame for the young Russian on his last race for Toro Rosso before moving to Red Bull.
The top ten currently on lap 17 is Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Ricciardo, Bottas, Magnussen, Vettel, Button, Alonso and Raikkonen.
Hamilton has a good advantage over Rosberg of 2.4 seconds, with Massa 6.1 seconds back on the leader.
Even if Rosberg does get ahead of Hamilton, it looks unlikely anyone else can be in position to help the German win the title today.
The sun has now set in Abu Dhabi, with the race now being held under the lights.
Hulkenberg asked his team why he got a penalty, but in a less than polite manner, while Daniel Ricciardo is told not to fight Bottas for position, with the two on completely different strategies.
Ricciardo, Magnussen and Vettel have yet to stop on lap 21.
As I say that, Magnussen and Vettel both pit at the end of the lap
Magnussen has come out in P13 but on the Supersoft tyre, Vettel P15 on the softs.
Lap 24 and Ricciardo has still yet to pit.
Rosberg makes a mistake and runs wide at turn 17, and is now nearly 4 seconds behind Hamilton.
Rosberg can see his championship chances diminishing with every passing lap.
Bottas passes Ricciardo for P4.
Rosberg complains about losing engine power, Hamilton is on the verge of the title as he is dropping four seconds a lap.
Massa closing quickly on Rosberg for P2.
Rosberg now 10.9 seconds behind Hamilton at the front.
Rosberg is told that his ERS has failed. Massa now right on his tail.
Massa passes Rosberg with ease for Second.
Bottas now closing on Rosberg but has sixteen seconds to find before he can move into third.
Its a shame that a mechanical issue has denied F1 a good battle for the title
Maldonado has retired in spectacular fashion with fire coming out of the back of his Lotus.
Ricciardo has finally pitted from P5, but only fell to P7.
Alonso passes Button at turn 8 after the Briton came out of the pits just ahead of the Spaniard.
Hamilton seems to have dropped his pace by two seconds a lap.
Mercedes apparently controlling Hamilton’s engine so not to have the same issue as Rosberg.
Hamilton has made his second and possibly final stop of the race on lap 32.
Bottas less than five seconds behind Rosberg now, with Hamilton passing Rosberg after joining the track after his stop behind his ailing team-mate.
Bottas passes Rosberg for P3. Both Williams’ now on course for a podium finish, something that hasn’t happened so far in 2014.
Ricciardo back up to fifth and has just set the fastest lap of the race.
Rosberg pits from P4 for his second stop. He is told to do a ‘manual pull away’ after the stop.
Rosberg re-joins the race in seventh behind the two Force India’s.
Bottas pits from P3, and re-joins just behind Ricciardo.
If Massa and Bottas finish on the podium, it will be the first time since Monaco 2005 when both cars finish on the podium – Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber were the podium finishers that day.
Massa still yet to make his second stop leads, almost 16 seconds ahead of Hamilton who has finished his pit stops.
Hulkenberg has made a second stop, switching onto the supersoft tyres with 16 laps still to go.
Ricciardo has to pit once more to put on the supersofts, likewise Perez and Vettel.
Rosberg’s pace is shockingly slow. Only Will Stevens is slower in the Caterham.
Lap 40 and Massa has yet to stop for his second stop. Could he try and go to the end?
Rosberg’s problems seem to be worsening.
His last lap was 5 seconds slower than the one before.
Vettel and Perez battling for fifth. Both have one more stop to make to switch to the Supersofts
Massa still not stopping. Just 12 laps to go.
Hulkenberg passes Alonso for eighth.
Massa finally pits, and switches to the supersofts.
Massa could be rolling the dice with the tyre choice… could he be gunning for the win?
Kobayashi has unfortunately become the third retirement of the race in the pit lane. The other Caterham is still running in the hands of Stevens.
We may have just seen goodbye to Kobayashi as a F1 driver.
Massa sets a new fastest lap but is only half a second faster than Hamilton. 10.3 seconds between them.
Massa takes a second out of Hamilton on the following lap.
Vettel finally pits for the supersofts and rejoins in tenth.
Ricciardo is the last driver to pit for the supersofts and rejoins fourth.
Massa now only 6.8 seconds behind Hamilton.
Vettel passes Alonso for P9. It looks to be a miserable final race for Ferrari, with Raikkonen P11.
Vettel now up to eighth with Rosberg down in ninth. Rosberg might not score any points at this rate, with the Ferrari’s not far behind.
Rosberg is slow, and out of the points. Hamilton has one hand on the title.
Hamilton leads Massa by 4.6 seconds with 4 laps to go. Massa might run out of laps.
Lewis Hamilton wins the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and becomes a double World Drivers Champion!
It is Hamilton’s eleventh win of the season, and he takes the crown by 67 points from Rosberg.
Massa runs out of laps and finishes 2.5 seconds behind in second, with Bottas completing the podium in the second Williams.
Williams therefore claim third in the constructors championship ahead of Ferrari.
Hamilton has picked up a British flag as he celebrates on the slow down lap after the race.
Commiserations to Nico Rosberg who has been a star all season but will have to settle for P2 in the championship.
Daniel Ricciardo incidentally finished fourth having started from the pit lane ahead of Jenson Button, while the Force India’s of Hulkenberg and Perez claimed sixth and seventh.
Sebastian Vettel finished eighth on his final outing for Red Bull ahead of the driver he replaces in Ferrari in 2015, Fernando Alonso, while Kimi Raikkonen was the final scorer in tenth.
Only three retirements – Kobayashi, Maldonado and Kvyat who all retired with mechanical issues.
Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton from everyone at The Checkered Flag.
Thank you for following the season on TCF, stay tuned for the race report and the press releases from all the teams and drivers.
Roll on Melbourne 2015!