F1 2014: End of an era

Lewis Hamilton became the 4th Brit to win the Drivers’ World Championship twice, and the first since Jackie Stewart did it over 40 years ago. 

It was perhaps destiny that his new mentor Niki Lauda, the man responsible for bringing Hamilton to team Mercedes and constructing this title for him, was the only other driver to have a gap of 6 years or more (7) between his first two titles. In the end, you’d have to say Hamilton was a deserving Champion, and the only character in F1 with an aura to help the sport breathe again.

Abu Dhabi, the venue for a double-points last race, began on an exciting note for most fans. Rosberg, the only contender all season, took pole ahead of Hamilton and needed to win the race and hope Hamilton didn’t finish second in order to win his first-ever title. The setup was perfect.

But this was a long shot, despite how close they were in the battle (17 points) and despite the fact that this new points rule gave Rosberg one last shot that he maybe didn’t entirely deserve as a lottery ticket. Hamilton has looked peerless in the second half of the season; nothing and nobody could have denied him his beloved title. His 6-year struggle after his first world title in 2008 for McLaren came to an end in grand fashion.

Disaster struck Rosberg right before the first turn when Hamilton overtook him and never looked back. Till about half the race, the Brit looked very secure, and looked even more so after Rosberg’s energy recovery system failed him. He struggled and stuttured after that—a sad mechanical end to a very promising season for the talented German driver. However, no Brits will complain after breaking the F1 German jinx, and Hamilton took the flag with second-placed Massa not too far behind.

Eventually, Hamilton won 11 races to Rosberg’s 5, and the final gap of 67 points betrayed the close-fought battle in the Championship—an astounding achievement for Mercedes after the departure of Michael Schumacher. 

SEASON SUMMARY:

  • Bust-up between teammates Rosberg and Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix, where Rosberg took a 28-point lead and looked the favorite. No love was lost for the rest of the season.
  • The potential dream combo of former World Champs Alonso and Raikkonen proved to be a damp squid, not least because of Ferrari’s toothless engine performance and one of their worst years in recent history. Alonso finished 6th and Raikkonen a sorry 12th.
  • Young Aussie driver Daniel Ricciardo finished 3rd in the standings, a full 71 points ahead of teammate and 4-time Champ Vettel. Ricciardo has been the story of the season, and looks like a future World Champion. He was the only non-Mercedes driver to win this season (3 races). 
  • Young Finn Valtteri Bottas finished 3rd in Abu Dhabi, and leapfrogged Vettel and Alonso into 4th position in the standings after the double-points scenario. Excellent start to his career, with plenty to come.
  • Force India duo of Hulkenberg and Perez finished 9th and 10th—a disappointing return after the team promised so much last season.
  • Alonso will be moving to Mclaren, and Button could make way for him. Abu Dhabi could be Button’s last career F1 race. Button won the 2009 Championship with Brawn GP, now known as World Champions Mercedes. 
  • Vettel will be driving for Ferrari—a move that could make or break his fledging young career. It didn’t work for Alonso, who ironically was broken during his tragic 2010 Abu Dhabi last race tank, which Vettel profited from to win his first title. 
  • Only 3 drivers won the 19 races between them this season. Hamilton won 11, Rosberg 5 and Ricciardo 3.

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