Formula 1: Abu Dhabi and 2014 Season Review

Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory & a second World Championship in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton stormed to victory in 2014’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, securing the Formula One World Championship, and becomes the first British driver in 43 years to win the title twice. He joins the ranks of Sir Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, and Graham Hill, who have all secured two or more championships, and has certainly set himself up to continue his domineering performance at Mercedes, with the possibility of securing many more Championships in the not-so-distant future.

With all the controversy surrounding the double points ‘Duel in the Desert’, the weekend was tipped to rattle cages. However, it was clear by the entrance into turn one that the 2008 Champion was on his way to victory. Having stormed off the starting line Hamilton was leagues ahead, while Nico Rosberg was under attack by the force of the two Williams and had to fight right from the get-go to secure his top two position into turn one. Rosberg’s luck did not improve later in the race. He suffered an electrical failure of his KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), and was passed by Felipe Massa on lap 27. In losing approximately 160bhp Rosberg was caught by Massa at an unprecedented rate considering the Brazilian was 9 seconds behind him just 5 laps before.

Having lost all hope of the title early in the race, the German performed with the zeal and determination he has displayed all season

The German’s track position declined more so as the majority of the field was able to catch the limping Mercedes, and as he dropped below 5th position (the lowest he could finish and still win the Championship if Hamilton were to retire) it began to become clear that all possibilities of winning the Driver’s Championship had faded. Yet Rosberg remained well-composed and determined to end his 2014 season battle on a high, and on the penultimate lap of the race he denied team orders to retire the car, and instead resiliently dragged the broken Mercedes across the line. Having lost all hope of the title early in the race, the German performed with the zeal and determination he has displayed all season. While having been criticised for his questionable on-track decisions in both Monaco and Spa, he has nonetheless proven himself as an outright force in Formula 1, and above that, one of resilience, respect, and composure.


Throughout the rest of the field at Abu Dhabi we once again witnessed the extraordinary driving style of Daniel Ricciardo as he finished 4th, while his four-time World Champion teammate Sebastian Vettel only managed to finish 8th . Both Red Bulls were ordered to start from the pit lane at the start of Sunday’s race due to an FIA ruling that accused the team of using a deliberately designed front-wing that was knowingly in breach of the regulations. Yet despite this the Australian managed to produce another phenomenal drive, one we have paid homage to all season, in order to finish at the top end of the field. We are left in no doubt that with his overtaking prowess and his ability to out-drive the car, this Perth-born 25 year old is without any hesitation on-track to become an F1 World Champion. His only fault this season has been at the hands of Red Bull’s inability to produce a more competitive car.

 It seems obvious as an observer of the sport that McLaren’s situation is a straightforward one. The Alonso-Button combination would be a force to be reckoned with

Jenson Button performed inexplicably well in his under performing McLaren in Abu Dhabi. With his career in question, and the decision of who will accompany Alonso at McLaren in 2015 looming, Button produced a drive that epitomises his 15 years in the sport. Finishing 5th, 6 places above his teammate Kevin Magnusson in 11th, Button ended the season on a high as he finished 71 points above Magnusson in the Championship, and only 8 points shy of Massa. While in the latter years of his career he may have slipped under the radar, he remains one of the most consistent drivers on the grid, and consistently delivers points for the team. With the two Force-India cars finishing 6th and 7th, Button’s result made sure that McLaren’s biggest rivals did not overtake them in the Constructor’s Championship. It seems obvious as an observer of the sport that McLaren’s situation is a straightforward one. The Alonso-Button combination would be a force to be reckoned with. While Alonso would take precedence as their No. 1 driver, Button would more than perform as their No. 2 – securing consistent points, and fundamentally ensuring success in the Constructor’s Championship.


Abu Dhabi also saw the valiant return of Caterham, who through crowd-funding, managed to race Kamui Kobayashi, and the newcomer, Will Stevens. The weekend went as expected for the two Caterham’s. They locked out the back of the grid in qualifying, and on race day had to retire Kobayashi, while watching the newcomer Stevens finish the race in 17th, and last, position. Lotus produced an average race once again. Their most memorable moment of the race came when Pastor Maldonado’s engine caught fire, and ejected barrels of smoke and fire from his exhaust. Once a viable force on the grid, pushing for points, and causing havoc, Lotus have failed to spark the imagination of the public this season, and have finished with having only accumulated 10 points; a catastrophic decline from their 315 points in 2013.

In all the weekend proved to be less dramatic than we might have hoped; the race proved to be an almost anticlimactic end to a thrillingly tense season. The only noticeable drama stems from questions concerning the reliability of Mercedes’ cars yet due to Hamilton’s surge to the front, it was apparent from the start that there would be an outright victor. Though it is safe to say that with Williams gaining ground on Mercedes, and the return of Honda to F1, next season is set to have even more thrills and spills, and so Mercedes’ reliability failures might not be as forgiving as those we have seen throughout 2014.

James Gable

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