Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2014 – Recap

Lewis Hamilton wins the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the second time and alongside it his second drivers’ world championship. Felipe Massa and Valterri Bottas, both of Williams Renault finished second and third respectively. Hamilton’s arch-rival Nico Rosberg had a sad ending in his campaign this year as he encountered engine problems during the race and finished it at 14th place.

Qualifying

Nico Rosberg edged Hamilton for the third straight time on the qualifying session. The German clocked the fastest lap of one minute and 41.424 seconds which is 0.369 seconds faster than Hamilton. Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth respectively in the qualifying but they’ll have to start the race at the back of the grid after officials from the FIA say the front wings on their cars were too flexible. The FIA had recently set tough rules on flexible bodywork so that teams will not gain any aerodynamic advantage from it during the race. Red Bull made an appeal to the decision but they failed to convince the officials to reverse their ruling earlier. Caterham is back on this race and its drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Will Stevens (an F1 debutante) qualified for the 16th and 17th positions respectively.

Racing Conditions

This is the only day-night race in the F1 calendar. The contest begins while the sun is about to come down and night time sets in while the race is in progress. The temperature on the track drops significantly during the evening and drivers need to change tires in order to adjust to it. The state of the art facilities at the Yas Marina circuit have made it possible for drivers to race under these conditions without any effect on their performance.

The Grid

The Race

Rosberg began the race at the pole but Hamilton was able to snatch the lead from him from the opening moments of the first lap. He quickly establishes a 1.239 second lead from his teammate on lap two. Felipe Massa is currently in third followed by Jenson Button who could be in his final F1 race.

Drivers began to pit in on lap six. Most teams usually employ a three stop strategy for this race. Button and Raikkonen were among those who pitted in early, but the Mercedes duo chose to pit later in order to avoid the traffic in the pit lane. Hamilton made his first stop on lap 10 and Rosberg made his on lap 11.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who was forced to start the race at the back is now on 7th place during lap 12. His teammate, Sebastian Vettel had also made a big progress and is now among the top ten. Daniil Kyvat’s Torro Rosso spins near turn 8 and spins off the track. He’s the first retirement for this stage.

Hamilton keeps a 2.6 second gap on Rosberg while Massa trails the duo on third spot during lap 19. But on lap 24, Rosberg’s car suddenly slows down and the gap between him and Hamilton increased to seven seconds. He told Mercedes’ engineers by radio that he’s “losing engine power.” That gap became even bigger on the next lap to 11 seconds. The German is in big trouble now. Massa easily passed him on lap 26 to claim the second spot.

Fire broke out on Pastor Maldonado’s engine during lap 28. It’s good that he managed to put his car into the side and got out from it fast without any injury. He’s now the second retirement on this race.

Rosberg’s misery continues and Bottas finally overtakes him. He’s now on fourth place. Hamilton also seems to be experiencing some mechanical problems with his car as he records a slower lap. Rosberg made a second stop on lap 34 and comes out on seventh position. After 36 laps the leaders are as follows: Massa, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Bottas and Perez.

Both Hamilton and Rosberg are now experiencing issues with their cars but it seems that the German has a bigger problem. Rosberg is lapping slower as the race progresses and is now on eighth spot. Hamilton was able to regain the lead after Massa pitted on lap 44. He establishes a 9.7 second lead over Massa on lap 46.

It’s all over now for Rosberg as he drops down to 11th position on lap 51. Hamilton is told by radio that his teammate is not a threat now. Massa continues to narrow his gap on Hamilton and it has gone down to 2 seconds on lap 54. Mercedes persuades Rosberg to retire but the German insisted on finishing the race.

lewis-hamilton-f1-2014-world-championHamilton was first to greet the chequered flag after lap 55 followed closely by Massa. It’s now official – he’s the 2014 world champion.

After Thoughts

Despite encountering some problems, Hamilton was still able to win this race. It was another impressive showing for the Briton who clearly deserves the world title. Rosberg’s illustrious campaign had a sad ending but nevertheless, he still had a great season overall.

There have been many big developments in F1 recently with some drivers changing teams and talks about plans for some changes in the format. For sure, these things will just make the next F1 season even more exciting.