Lewis Hamilton has become a two-time Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion after the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS driver dominated the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The Briton took the lead into the first corner from pole sitter Nico Rosberg who made a slow getaway, but his title was confirmed when the German started to suffer from car issues that gradually worsened the longer the race went on.
Rosberg suffered with ERS and hybrid power issues and dropped further and further down the field, ultimately dropping outside the points and finishing a lapped fourteenth. It was an unfortunate way for the championship battle to come to an end, with Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff saying before hand that he would not want the title to be decided by a mechanical issue for either driver.
Hamilton was able to cruise for a large spell of the race, but was forced to pick up his pace a little towards the end when Felipe Massa took a tyre gamble to switch from the Soft to the Supersoft Pirelli tyre for his final stint, and closed the gap by sometimes more than a second a lap, but ran out of time in the end, finishing 2.5 seconds adrift of the win.
Massa’s Williams Martini Racing team-mate Valtteri Bottas recovered from a bad start, where he fell down to eighth, to finish on the podium and in doing so securing fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship. It was the first time since the Monaco Grand Prix of 2005 that Williams saw two drivers standing on the podium.
Daniel Ricciardo had another standout performance to finish fourth for Infiniti Red Bull Racing after starting the race from the pit lane after being disqualified from qualifying, with the Australian running an alternative Soft-Soft-Supersoft strategy to move up the order, and he also took the fastest lap of the race.
Jenson Button finished in fifth on what could be his final outing for the McLaren team, who waved goodbye to Mercedes-power following the race, with Honda joining the team from 2015.
The Sahara Force India duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez climbed up into sixth and seventh after starting outside the top ten after taking the same strategy call as Ricciardo. Hulkenberg even recovered from taking a five-second penalty for forcing Kevin Magnussen off the track on the opening lap.
Sebastian Vettel was unable to match the pace of team-mate Ricciardo after also starting from the pit lane, but was able to secure eighth place on his final race for Red Bull before moving onto Ferrari from 2015.
His new employees completed the points scorers, with Fernando Alonso finishing his final race for the team just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
There were three retirements during the race, with Daniil Kvyat of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Pastor Maldonado of Lotus retiring on track, while Kamui Kobayashi ended his race in the pit lane with a mechanical issue on his Caterham.
Luckily the double points did not come into play for the title, and with luck we will not see that rule being retained for 2015 or beyond. Hamilton is a deserving champion, while Rosberg has proved beyond doubt that he is more than a match for anyone on the grid this year. 2015 he’ll come back fighting once more, but for now, it is Hamilton who will celebrate his championship victory.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Race Result
|2||19||Felipe Massa||BRZ||Williams-Mercedes||55||+2.5 secs||36|
|3||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Williams-Mercedes||55||+28.8 secs||30|
|4||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull Racing-Renault||55||+37.2 secs||24|
|5||22||Jenson Button||GBR||McLaren-Mercedes||55||+60.3 secs||20|
|6||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||55||+62.1 secs||16|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||55||+71.0 secs||12|
|8||1||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Red Bull Racing-Renault||55||+72.0 secs||8|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Ferrari||55||+85.8 secs||4|
|10||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Ferrari||55||+87.8 secs||2|
|11||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||McLaren-Mercedes||55||+90.3 secs|
|12||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||FRA||STR-Renault||55||+91.9 secs|
|13||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Lotus-Renault||54||+1 Lap|
|14||6||Nico Rosberg||GER||Mercedes||54||+1 Lap|
|15||21||Esteban Gutierrez||MEX||Sauber-Ferrari||54||+1 Lap|
|16||99||Adrian Sutil||AUT||Sauber-Ferrari||54||+1 Lap|
|17||46||Will Stevens||GBR||Caterham-Renault||54||+1 Lap|