Lapped for the Championship – Abu Dhabi GP 2014

UnitedArabEmiratesThe season ending Abu Dhabi GP was rather uneventful. After Nico Rosberg began to suffer from problems with his ERS-booster it was all done for. Abu Dhabi has been the site of some pretty good races most years, so it’s a shame that the championship and the race both ended on a rather low note.

Regardless, I congratulate Lewis Hamilton for his second championship! Good job, Lewis! It was a long-time coming.

The Top-10

  1. Lewis HamiltonAfter overtaking his team-mate in the start, Hamilton could not be beat. He was second only for a time when Massa had not done his pit-stop. An excellent season and more than a deserved championship victory.
  2. Felipe MassaThe man who lost to Hamilton in the 2008 championship got to stand on the second highest podium today. Massa gave a perfect performance and Williams has cause to celebrate this year, after 2013’s disappointing season.
  3. Valtteri BottasDespite a flubbed start, Bottas stayed close to the Top-5 and won his fifth podium of the season.

Red Bull also performed excellently. After being disqualified from the qualifying and forced to start from the pit-lane, both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel landed in the Top-10. Ricciardo took a really impressive 4th while Vettel battled the Ferraris and Force Indias for a respectable 8th, beating his future team-mate in the process.

It was a mixed day for McLaren. Jenson Button, for whom this may be his final Grand Prix, drove a flawless race and landed 5th. The Brit has gone out with a bang. Good on you, Jense!

Force India also excelled today. Nico The Hülk drove his best result in a long while by landing 6th, after receiving a Stop-N-Go penalty for forcing Magnussen and Sutil into bumping each other. His team-mate followed behind on 7th. Another impressive pair to rise from outside the Top-10.

Conversely, the final race of the season was a rather lowly finish from Ferrari at the end of an already excruciatingly difficult season during which the team has only been on the podium twice. Fernando Alonso was driving a fairly solid race before he had to submit to the Force Indias and landed 9th. Kimi Räikkönen had an equally miserable time, driving most of the race just at the edge of the Top-10 and only rising to points due to Rosberg’s drop-off at the end.

Golden Pineapple Award: Kevin Magnussen (McLaren)The Dane concludes his rookie season on a rather disappointing end result. Magnussen’s race was ruined by his early run in with Sutil, so this end result really wasn’t his fault. Here’s hoping better luck for him next season (provided McLaren decides to keep him).

Drop-out count: 3

Technical malfunctions caused all the retirements today.

Daniil Kvyat pulled out early on due to some mechanical failure with the car. He doesn’t have to feel too bad about it, considering he’s signed at Red Bull for next season.

Pastor Maldonado went out in a blaze when his car caught fire. Lotus wasn’t too disappointed as the pit-crew were seen laughing at the incident afterwards. Similarly, Maldonado is already signed for next season (along with Grosjean) so the Venezuelan can perhaps put this disappointing season behind him.

Kamui Kobayashi returned to the track after two races only to retire from a technical failure late in the race. I really hope Kamui-San can secure a seat at some team next season as I seriously doubt Caterham’s changes of coming back in 2015.

Back of the Lot News

There were a lot of disappointments today. Jean-Eric Vergne especially must be kicking himself with his job on the line. He was giving Ricciardo a run for his money at the start of the race, so it’s a same he couldn’t better.

Everything seemed to go wrong for Nico Rosberg who started from pole, lost to Hamilton at the start, had his ERS break during the race and then other problems led him to utterly lose pace towards the race’s end, falling from 7th to 14th. Mercedes wanted to pull Rosberg into the pits but Nico insisted on finishing the race even with this horrible standing. I salute Nico, a truly huge disappointment. Either way, it’s been his best season ever. I only lament that Nico and Lewis couldn’t really battle each other head-to-head for the title.

Sauber ended this season on an all-time low: no points scored! Esteban Gutierrez is on his way out the door after a second apathetic race season. I feel most sorry for Adrian Sutil, who had a good start to the race, but for the second time  this season had his race ruined by someone else (Magnussen or Hülkenberg depending on how you look at it). Sutil too will be out of a job next season. It pains me to say this, but this might be Auf Wiedersehen, Adrian. 16th and second to last.

Dead Last: Will StevensA rookie making his F1 debut in a Caterham car. There’s really no reason to blame Stevens for a poor performance in an absolutely disastrous car. However, I doubt Stevens can look forward to filling in for anyone next year. (Incidentally, he bumped Caterham to the top of the Dead Last chart this season, but this is rather meaningless considering that Marussia was not present in the last three races).