Power Ranking the Formula 1 Teams After 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Neil James@NeilosJamesFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2014

Power Ranking the Formula 1 Teams After 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Lewis Hamilton's victory at the season-ending 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix gave Mercedes their 16th win of the year.

    They should have won the other three too, but a combination of reliability and less-than-sensible driving conspired against them. Sixteen is a new Formula One record, but McLaren's 1988 season (15 wins from 16 races) remains the benchmark in terms of a winning percentage.

    Williams were their closest challengers at Yas Marina, followed by illegal front wing-wielding Red Bull. McLaren ended the year with another strong result, with Force India not far behind.

    But Ferrari had a dismal end to 2014, and their sole remaining customerSauberended a season with zero points for the first time in their history.

    Toro Rosso disappointed, Lotus failed to shine and Caterham brought up the rear.

    Looking at qualifying, race pace and reliabilityand ignoring championship positionhere's how the teams ended the year.

Unranked: Marussia

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    Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

    Marussia were not present, so remain unranked.

    Hopefully they'll find some way to survive against the odds and make it to the grid next season.

10. Caterham

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Re-Entry

    Caterham made their return after two races away thanks to a successful crowdfunding project and fire sale.

    Kamui Kobayashi was joined by debutant Will Stevens. They qualified last, but they moved up a row when Red Bull were disqualified and gained another spot due to Romain Grosjean's power-unit change grid-drop. They ended up 15th and 16th, for their best average grid position of the year.

    But as expected, neither made an impact in the race.

    Kobayashi retired from second-last with a vibration. Stevens moved up to 17th as his team-mate parked in the garage, and that's where he finished.

    Caterham end the year in 10th.

9. Sauber

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    No Change

    Sauber were already having the worst season in their history, and Sunday's result confirmed they would end the year with no points.

    Adrian Sutil lined up in 13th place. He was lucky to continue after a quite brutal coming-together with Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap and struggled with tyre wear all race.

    He finished 16th after pitting three timesa disappointing result in what could have been his final race.

    Esteban Gutierrez fared little better. From 14th on the grid he never made an impact, and ended up 15th.

    A season to forget. Sauber end it in ninth.

8. Lotus

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    No Change

    Lotus ended the season much the same way they began itwith lots of power-unit issues.

    Romain Grosjean was the quickest of their drivers in qualifying, but lined up last on the grid after an absurd 20-place penalty for changing three elements of his power unit.

    Because he couldn't serve the whole penalty, he also got a drive-through for this heinous crime.

    The Frenchman dropped to the rear serving this on the third lap, but a marathon 33-lap final stint on the soft tyres saw him come home ahead of the Saubers and only 30 seconds down on the Ferraris. He might have scored points without the penalty.

    Team-mate Pastor Maldonado started 15th. His only real contribution to the race was a magnificent fire following a power-unit failure.

    He retired from 12th.

    Lotus will be hoping Mercedes engines push them up the field in 2015. They end the year eighth.

7. Toro Rosso

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    Dan Istitene/Getty Images

    No Change

    Daniil Kvyat was again the quickest Toro Rosso in qualifying. He set the seventh-fastest time, and he lined up fifth after the two Red Bulls were kicked to the rear.

    Jean-Eric Vergne, who tends to race better than he qualifies, started 10th.

    Toro Rosso had appalling reliability in the first half of the season, but they went into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the back of eight consecutive two-car finishes.

    But the run was not extended to nine. Kvyat, who had been running between the two Ferraris, retired after just 14 laps with a power-unit failure.

    Vergne had no such issues, but he was hampered by poor track position. Having lost places at the start, his pace was not dissimilar to the Force Indias.

    Sadly for him, he was coming from too far back and his Renault-powered car lacked the necessary grunt to get passing moves done quickly. He finished 12th, right on Kevin Magnussen's tail.

    Toro Rosso will look back on a season of missed opportunitieswith the car they had, 30 points is an embarrassingly low total.

    They end the year seventh.

6. Force India

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    No Change

    Force India's Paul di Resta used a one-stop strategy to good effect in 2013 to finish sixth. That wasn't on this year, but their decision to take a different route to most of the other teams bore fruit once more.

    Sergio Perez lined up 11th, with Nico Hulkenberg 13th. Both started on the soft compound tyres and made up places at the start. Hulkenberg rose to ninth, Perez to 10th.

    Their long first stints saw them emerge in relatively clean air, the Mexican ahead now due to Hulkenberg's slightly harsh five-second penalty. Their long-run pace was very good, and both switched to supersofts late on.

    Hulkenberg was the quicker of the two in the race, and blitzed through the field on his fresher, stickier rubber to finish sixth, close to Jenson Button's McLaren.

    Perez followed his team-mate through the traffic and held off Sebastian Vettel for seventh.

    Force India end the season a respectable sixth, both here and in the standings.

5. Ferrari

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    No Change

    Kimi Raikkonen scored a rare victory over Fernando Alonso in qualifying, but he could manage no better than ninth. Alonso was 10th; both were later moved up two spots as the Red Bulls were sent to the back.

    Both made good starts and ran fifth and sixth, respectively, early on. Alonso got ahead at the first round of stops, but both lost places.

    The weakness of the Ferrari engine was plain to see all afternoon as the duo circulated within a few seconds of each other. Attacking the cars ahead was out of the question, and there was little point defending against rivals with more straight-line speed.

    Alonso took the chequered flag in ninth, with Raikkonen in 10th.

    Ferrari will be delighted to see the back of 2014, but they may still look to the future with trepidation. A certain Spaniard will no longer be around to dig them out of trouble.

    Ferrari end the year fifth.

4. McLaren

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    A rare sighting of the McHonda at the Abu Dhabi post-season test.
    A rare sighting of the McHonda at the Abu Dhabi post-season test.Dan Istitene/Getty Images

    No Change

    Jenson Button led the way in qualifying for the fourth race in a row. He lined up eighth (sixth after the Red Bull penalties), with team-mate Kevin Magnussen down in 11th (later ninth).

    The Briton got away well and ran fourth early on, but as the race progressed he didn't quite have enough pace to hold back the recovering Daniel Ricciardo.

    He finished fifth, the best his package could realistically have achieved.

    Magnussen had a less successful race. Starting on the soft compound tyres, he would probably have been better taking the supersofts at the end of the race. Instead he fitted them for a short middle stint, which didn't really work out.

    He ended the race 11th, defending from Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso.

    McLaren had a weak period through the middle of the year, but they end the season in fourth.

3. Red Bull

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    Dan Istitene/Getty Images

    No Change

    Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel qualified on the third row on the grid, but an inspection later found they had illegal front wings on their RB10s. Both were booted out of the session, and they started from the pit lane.

    They had a lot of recovering to do on Sunday, and Ricciardoas he often has in 2014did the best job.

    The Australian passed a few cars early on, but made up most of his places as others cars pitted. At just over the halfway point he was established in a net fourth place. He remained there until the end, unable to quite challenge the two Williams cars ahead.

    Vettel didn't cut through the field as well as Ricciardo and lost more time in traffic. He finished eighth, behind both Force Indias.

    Red Bull remain third.

2. Williams

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    Luca Bruno/Associated Press

    No Change

    Williams would have been expecting a good end to the season at the stop-start Abu Dhabi circuit, and after qualifying the omens were good. Valtteri Bottas started third with Felipe Massa fourth.

    Massa got the better start and showed surprisingly good pace in the opening stint, staying within six seconds of the race leader. From this point on, he was always the closest challenger to the Silver Arrows, passing the ailing Rosberg for a fine second-place finish.

    Bottas, whose poor start saw him fall to eighth by Turn 1, pulled himself back up to a net fourth after the first round of stops.

    He too benefited from Rosberg's problem, and came home in thirdsecuring his sixth podium of the season.

    Williams end the season with a quite remarkable 64 times more points than they scored in 2013.

1. Mercedes

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    Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

    No Change

    To the surprise of absolutely no one, Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid for the 12th time in 2014. Nico Rosberg was on pole with Lewis Hamilton in second.

    Hamilton got the jump at the start and the two W05s began to pull away from the rest, but Felipe Massa in the Williams at least kept them honest.

    Just before half-distance, Rosberg's energy-recovery system failed. With no electrical power, he dropped back through the field and finished a lap down in 14th.

    But Hamilton kept going, able to fend off the attentions of Massa despite turning the engine down. He won to take the team's 16th, and his 11th, victory of the season.

    Mercedes end the year where they started itfirst place.