Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hamilton wins Abu Dhabi & F1 World Championship

Lewis Hamilton wins Abu Dhabi for his 2nd F1 World Championship

Lewis Hamilton made a superb start to snatch the lead from Rosberg in the first lap itself and win the race and Championship. Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas of Williams finished in 2nd and 3rd positions. Nico Rosberg finished in 14th.

Hamilton had raced to 1.2 seconds lead by the second lap. He knew he had to put a big distance between him and the following pack before the pitstops and he really sped away. Nico Rosberg's slim hopes for a championship win vanished into thin air as his poor start resulted in all strategies being ruined. Rosberg had tyres that were one lap older than Hamilton as Rosberg had done one more lap in the qualifying due to a mistake. It is the prerogative of the race leader to decide when to pit. His teammate can only follow in the next lap. So Rosberg had to wait for Hamilton to pit first.

The first pit stop was interesting, as Fernando Alonso dived in into the pits in lap 6. However, he got stuck in traffic as were other drivers. So Mercedes told its drivers to delay the pit stop a bit. So Lewis Hamilton came into the pits in lap 11 followed by Nico Rosberg in the next lap.

Both the Red Bull cars had to start from the pitlane as Red Bull was penalised for using a front wing that flexed beyond the limits. So they had to change it. And since the rules state that you can't change the car between the qualifying and the start, so the Red Bull cars had to start from the pitlane.

After the first round of pitstops, Nico Rosberg kept on pushing the gap was around 2.5 seconds. However, Rosberg couldn't perhaps handle the pressure and made a mistake in lap 24 and locked up in turn 17. In the next lap he reported loss of engine power and Mercedes told him that his Energy Recovery System (ERS) failed. So not only his championship dreams but also scoring a podium finish vanished. Soon after in lap 27 Felipe Massa overtook Rosberg for second position. Pastor Maldonado's wretched year continued as his Lotus car was engulfed by flames.

There was more drama, as suddenly Lewis Hamilton's car slowed down bring fears that his car is also having technical problems. However, it appeared that it was purposefully slowed down to avoid problems. Lewis soon changed tyres in lap 32 and came behind Rosberg but quickly overtook him. This resulted in Massa leading the race. Lewis Hamilton even told his Mercedes team over radio "I am not racing Massa anymore" as perhaps he was worried that his car might have some problems. Clearly he wanted to trade a race win for a Championship win. However Massa still had to pit for tyres and stopped in lap 44 handing over the lead back to Lewis Hamilton. Felipe Massa though changed over to Super Soft tyres and wanted to chase down Lewis Hamilton as the Williams team knew that Mercedes is conservative and afraid of technical problems.  By lap 53 Massa had narrowed the gap to 3.5 seconds to Hamilton. On lap 55 Lewis Hamilton lapped Nico Rosberg and continued his lead over Felipe Massa to win the race as well as the 2014 drivers F1 chamipionship.

This was the 11th race win of Lewis Hamilton in this season. He had more engine problems this year. Despite that he has shown tremendous maturity, grit and pace to win races and his 2nd World Championship.

Final Results of F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

01. Lewis Hamilton         Mercedes
02. Felipe Massa              Williams
03. Valtteri Bottas            Williams
04. Daniel Ricciardo        Red Bull
05. Jenson Button             McLaren
06. Nico Hulkenberg        Force India
07. Sergio Perez               Force India
08. Sebastian Vettel         Red Bull
09. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari
10. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari
11. Kevin Magnussen      McLaren
12. Jean-Eric Vergne       Toro Rosso
13. Romain Grosjean       Lotus
14. Nico Rosberg             Mercedes
15. Esteban Gutierrez      Sauber
16. Adrian Sutil               Sauber
17. Will Stevens              Caterham

Retirements in Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix

Kamui Kobayashi  Caterham            Lap 42
Pastor Maldonado  Lotus                  Lap 27
Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso         Lap 15

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