Lewis Hamilton was first to cross the finish line Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, clinching the 2014 Formula One World Championship in the process. This is Hamilton's second F1 title—he won it back in 2008, when he was the youngest-ever champion.
The Mercedes man ends the year ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers' standings. The German suffered mechanical failures during the season finale, eventually finishing all the way back in 14th place.
The result was confirmed by Sky Sports F1:
Prince Harry congratulated Hamilton following the victory, via Bleacher Report UK:
Hamilton was imperious once again under immense pressure, as he flew past his teammate on the start. From that point on, the Brit was wholly unflustered. He went on to pick up his 11th race win of what's been a magnificent year.
Williams enjoyed an excellent final race of the campaign, as Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished in second and third place, respectively, to cap off a breakthrough season for the team.
|Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Results|
|2||19||Felipe Massa||Williams-Mercedes||55||+2.5 secs||4|
|3||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Mercedes||55||+28.8 secs||3|
|4||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||55||+37.2 secs||20|
|5||22||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||55||+60.3 secs||6|
|6||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||55||+62.1 secs||12|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||55||+71.0 secs||11|
|8||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||55||+72.0 secs||19|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||55||+85.8 secs||8|
|10||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||55||+87.8 secs||7|
|11||20||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||+90.3 secs||9|
|12||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Renault||+91.9 secs||10|
|13||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||+1 Lap||18|
|14||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||+1 Lap||1|
|15||21||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap||14|
|16||99||Adrian Sutil||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap||13|
|17||46||Will Stevens||Caterham-Renault||+1 Lap||17|
|Ret||10||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham-Renault||+13 Lap||16|
|Ret||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||+29 Laps||15|
|Ret||26||Daniil Kvyat||STR-Renault||+41 Laps||5|
|Formula 1 2014 Drivers' Standings|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australian||Red Bull Racing-Renault||238|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||German||Red Bull Racing-Renault||167|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||German||Force India-Mercedes||96|
|10||Sergio Perez||Mexican||Force India-Mercedes||59|
After coming up short of Rosberg in qualifying, Hamilton pulled no punches in his assessment of how important this race was, per BBC Sport:
My number one focus tomorrow is just doing the best I can and driving the way I have been driving for quite some time.
You want to get the pole, but just because I'm second doesn't mean we can't win.
You can't really measure how big it is. It is obviously the biggest day of my life.
Ahead of the Abu Dhabi showdown, BBC F1 outlined the permutations that would determine which Mercedes man ended the season as world champion:
Hamilton constantly reaffirmed his desire to win this race, even though second place would have been good enough for him to capture the world title. His start to this Grand Prix was absolutely sensational and confirmed that desire, as he surged past Rosberg into the lead.
Sky Sports F1 provided a bird's eye view of just how much separation Hamilton was able to get:
Former England international footballer Gary Lineker commended Hamilton’s perfect start to the race:
Indeed, to start in such phenomenal fashion under such high-pressure circumstances was a measure of Hamilton’s unflappable temperament. Then, as you might expect with open road in front of him, the world-championship leader roared into a comfortable lead at the front of the field.
Things looked bleak for Rosberg after Hamilton preserved his lead following the first round of pit stops, but the scenario soon got even worse for the German. He suffered through mechanical problems and started losing time quickly before being overtaken by Massa. Hamilton was now well clear at the front and for Rosberg, the title dream looked dead in the water.
With double points on offer in this race, drivers further behind in the field were battling hard in a last-gasp attempt to move up the standings. But Pastor Maldonado's dreadful season was to end in disappointing—albeit quite spectacular—fashion, per F1 Racing on NBC:
Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso also had an engrossing scrap, as Fake Charlie Whiting noted:
Massa was gaining ground on Hamilton at a sharp rate of knots at the front, and there was confusion as to whether the Brit was pacing himself against his toiling teammate or had suffered problems himself. Nonetheless, it looked as though the Mercedes man had the title completely sewn up when Rosberg's issues worsened, per F1 Racing on NBC:
Massa fancied his chances of picking up a race win, though, and after putting on the super-soft tire for the remaining 10 laps, he had 10 seconds to make up on Hamilton to pick up Williams' first race win of the 2014 season. But he was unable to pass the Brit in the latter stages, as Hamilton confirmed his world title win in the finest possible manner.
After winning 11 races compared to Rosberg’s five, it’s difficult to argue with the notion that the Brit deserved his 2014 title. Hamilton’s late-season surge, in which he won five consecutive races, was ultimately the key factor in his triumph. If he strikes that kind of consistency again next season, then it's difficult to see any driver in the field rivaling the Mercedes driver.
Meanwhile, Rosberg will bemoan some rudimentary mistakes at critical moments—particularly Spa and Monza—that helped hand the momentum to his teammate. But he's enjoyed his best season in Formula One to date and will have learned a lot from competing at the sharp end of the field throughout the 2014 campaign.
Hamilton now joins an elite crop of double world champions. Such is his talent, the Brit will be hoping this success, which came six years after his first triumph, is a springboard for further glory. With Rosberg pushing him and a wonderful team behind him, the 29-year-old has everything in place to do exactly that.