Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Lewis Hamilton took his second Formula One world title with victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as championship rival Nico Rosberg’s challenge was ended by technical problems that wrecked the German’s race. Hamilton made the better getaway at the start of the race to take the lead but across the opening stint Rosberg kept in touch with the title-leading Briton. However, on lap 25 Rosberg began to slow and reported that his car was down on power. Mercedes told the German it had suffered an ERS failure, and lascking horsepower and hampered by brake and throttle problems the German’s challenge fizzled out and he eventually limped home in 14th place.

Hamilton, though, was imperious, fending off a late surge from Williams’ Felipe Massa, who took in a late set of supersoft tyres to close to within three seconds of the Englishman. Hamilton defended hard and crossed the line in front, to take his 11th victory of the year and his second championship title. Massa took second place ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with Daniel Ricciardo fourth after the Australian had started from the pit lane.

At the start, Hamilton made a superb getaway to leave Rosberg standing. Behind them, Bottas had a bad getaway and by the end of the first lap had dropped from third to eighth.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kyvat also has a bad start and dropped from fifth to seventh. Jenson Button took advantage of that and moved up from sixth to fourth behind Massa. Button was followed by the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.

At the end of the first lap Hamilton was one second ahead of his title rival and by the time DRS use was permitted he had widened the gap beyond its use to 1.2s. Further back, Alonso and Kvyat passed Raikkonen and the Spaniard immediately got on the radio to inform is team he would pit to shed his starting supersofts. That triggered a round of stops as a number of option tyre starters, including Button, Kvyat and Raikkonen, headed for pit lane.

Hamilton, though, stayed out until lap 10, taking on soft tyres, and he was told to enrich his fuel mixture to up his pace as Rosberg tried to push to close up during the title leader’s stop. Rosberg’s in-lap wasn’t good enough to make an impact and after a 2.6s stop he rejoined just behind the Briton.

On lap 15 the first of the soft tyre starters began to pit, with Jean-Eric Vergne heading in after being passed for sixth place by Daniel Ricciardo, who had also started on softs and risen to the position after starting from pit lane, to where both Red Bull cars had been sent following exclusion from the qualifying result due to an illegal front wing.
Kvyat became the first runner to retire, the Russian taking an escape road and stopping his Toro Rosso on lap 16.

Still out on track on lap 18 on the soft tyres were Ricciardo – now in P4 behind Hamilton, Rosberg and Massa – McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen in P5 and Vettel in P6. They were followed by Button, Alonso and the top 10 order was rounded out by Raikkonen.
Vettel and Magnussen made their first stops on lap 21, with the Dane taking on supersofts and Vettel opting for more softs. Vettel’s stop wasn’t a good one, however and his 4.3 seconds in front of the Red Bull garage saw him rejoin in P15 and now two seconds down on Magnussen. That left Ricciardo, in fourth, as the last man out on track not to have made a pit stop, with the Australian having completed 23 laps on his starting softs.
But there was a limit to attempt to eke out life from his tyres, however, and on lap 24 he was passed by Bottas.

Ahead, Nico Rosberg was suddenly in trouble, however. On lap 25 he reported that he was losing engine power. The Mercedes pit wall quickly informed him that his ERS system had failed and with the German massively down on horsepower and running slowly, the title battle was effectively ended.

His lap 25 time was a 1:51.791 compared with Hamilton’s 1:47.963 and within a lap the German was under pressure from Massa. The Brazilian swept past the Mercedes man on lap 27.

Ricciardo finally headed to the pit lane on lap 27 and he took on another set of softs. Meanwhile, Raikkonen was the first to make a second scheduled stop and he was followed by Button, from P5.

At the front, Hamilton’s pace also began to drop and Massa closed to within nine seconds of the leader. It was straightforward race management, however, and the Briton was told that if he needed to turn the car back up again he was free to do so.

The race leader made his second stop on lap 31 and when he rejoined he was marginally behind Rosberg. The severity of the troubles afflicting the German’s car was underlined when Hamilton swept past, with Rosberg still needing to make his second stop. It was further emphasised when Bottas eased past the wounded Mercedes on lap 33 to demote Rosberg to fourth.

Rosberg made his second stop a lap later and when he emerged he found himself embroiled in a battle for P6 with Nico Hulkenberg. Hamilton returned to lead of the race when Massa pitted on lap 44, taking on supersoft tyres. The stop left Massa 10.8s behind the champion elect and a lap later he closed by half a second. On the following lap the Williams man took a whole second out of Hamilton’s advantage and a race to the flag looked on.

Behind them Ricciardo made his final stop, taking on the supersoft tyres he had not yet used. He rejoined in fourth place, behind Bottas who was racing on an older, final set of soft tyres. With the gap to the Finn at 20s, however, the task of reeling in the Williams in the final laps was impossible.

The order on lap 50 of the 55-lap race was Hamilton, with Massa now just six seconds behind. Bottas was third ahead of Ricciardo, with Button fourth. Hulkenberg was sixth ahead of a forlorn Nico Rosberg.

In the end Rosberg slipped back to 14th and was offered the chance to retire the car by his team. The German, though, bravely insisted that he would like race to end.
Ahead, Massa’s bid to overhaul Hamilton almost worked, with the Brazilian getting to within three seconds of the Mercedes man. Hamilton, though, wouldn’t be denied and he crossed the line 2.5s ahead of the Williams to take his second title.

Massa was a worthy second, with team-mate Bottas third. Ricciardo finished an excellent fourth place, after starting from the pit lane, with Button fifth. Hulkenberg ended his season with sixth place at the Yas Marina Circuit, finished ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez. Vettel was eighth in his final race for Red Bull Racing and the final points position were filled by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

55 laps, 305.470km., Weather: Dry.
 P.    DRIVER             TEAM            TIME   
 1. Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes AMG   1h30:02.555
 2. Felipe Massa       Williams        +    2.576
 3. Valtteri Bottas    Williams        +   28.880
 4. Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull        +   37.237
 5. Jenson Button      McLaren         + 1:00.334
 6. Nico Hulkenberg    Force India     + 1:02.148
 7. Sergio Perez       Force India     + 1:11.060
 8. Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull        + 1:12.045
 9. Fernando Alonso    Ferrari         + 1:25.815
10. Kimi Räikkönen     Ferrari         + 1:27.820
11. Kevin Magnussen    McLaren         + 1:30.376
12. Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso      + 1:31.947
13. Romain Grosjean    Lotus           +    1 Lap
14. Nico Rosberg       Mercedes AMG    +    1 Lap
15. Esteban Gutierrez  Sauber          +    1 Lap
16. Adrian Sutil       Sauber          +    1 Lap
17. Will Stevens       Caterham        +    1 Lap

FASTEST LAP: Daniel Ricciardo - 1:44.496         

Kamui Kobayashi      Caterham          14
Pastor Maldonado     Lotus             30
Daniil Kvyat         Toro Rosso        41

After 19 races:
Drivers:                    Constructors:        
 1. Lewis Hamilton    384   1. Mercedes AMG  701
 2. Nico Rosberg      317   2. Red Bull      405
 3. Daniel Ricciardo  238   3. Williams      320
 4. Valtteri Bottas   186   4. Ferrari       216
 5. Sebastian Vettel  167   5. McLaren       181
 6. Fernando Alonso   161   6. Force India   155
 7. Felipe Massa      134   7. Toro Rosso     30
 8. Jenson Button     126   8. Lotus          10
 9. Nico Hulkenberg    96   9. Marussia        2
10. Sergio Perez       59
11. Kevin Magnussen    55
12. Kimi Räikkönen     55
13. Jean-Eric Vergne   22
14. Romain Grosjean     8
15. Daniil Kvyat        8
16. Pastor Maldonado    2
17. Jules Bianchi       2