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Race highlights - Abu Dhabi 2014 - Relive the championship showdown at the Yas Marina Circuit

Published by Christine

Ready to race
Credit: Sahara Force India

We were looking for a huge championship fight that didn't come down to double points, and on at least one of those points, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale delivered. It was a hugely tense race from start to finish, with a handful of decent overtaking, and some pit strategy that helped make the difference for several drivers. The championship was decided perhaps from the very start, but it wasn't over until it was over.

If you missed any of the action, or want to relive what was a pretty epic race (considering it was Abu Dhabi), then the Factbyte Factbox replay has lap by lap coverage of everything you need to know.

As it happened: Abu Dhabi 2014 - The race

Event Highlights

  • Lewis Hamilton wins the race (and the title) after taking the lead off the line.
  • Rosberg loses ERS power halfway through, dropping out of the points.
  • Bottas made a poor start but recovered to help secure a double Williams podium.
  • Maldonado's Lotus catches fire on lap 29, ending his race.
  • Kvyat and Kobayashi also retire.
  • 12:30

    Hello there, it's a championship deciding kind of day, isn't it? Welcome to the Factbyte Factbox for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!

  • 12:31

    As you'll know by now, Nico Rosberg lines up on pole position for the final race of 2014, with Lewis Hamilton alongside him. And those are the two fighting for the title this afternoon.

  • 12:32

    Elsewhere, Red Bull were excluded from qualifying after the stewards found their front wing to be illegal. Both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel will be starting from the pit lane.

  • 12:32

    Romain Grosjean will start last after a twenty place penalty, and he's got to take a drive through in the first three laps as well. Harsh times!

  • 12:33

    With half an hour to go until the race start, the pit lane has opened and the engines are roaring as drivers make their way to the grid.

  • 12:34

    The floor of Vettel's garage has a nice tribute to the departing German. Danke Seb, it reads, with a mention of his four world championships. Starting from the rear of the field is likely not the send off he would have wanted though!

  • 12:35
    Circuit Data
    Yas Marina Circuit
    Local timezone+04:00 GMT
    First race2009
    Number of laps55
    Circuit length5.554km
    Race distance305.355km
    Start offset0.115km
  • 12:36

    Claire Williams looks cool and calm as she walks through the paddock, sunglasses firmly on. Williams are hoping to secure their third place in the championship here, and scored both places on the second row of the grid. Their main rivals Ferrari were further down in the top ten but have gained from Red Bull's disqualification.

  • 12:37
    Factbyte Factbox image

    Pirelli have brought the soft and supersoft tyres this weekend, and they haven't thrown up too many surprises yet. As something of a twilight race, the dropping temperatures at Yas Marina may require close scrutiny as the event gets underway.

  • 12:39
    Starting grid
    1N RosbergMercedes
    2L HamiltonMercedes
    3V BottasWilliams
    4F MassaWilliams
    5D KvyatToro Rosso
    6J ButtonMcLaren
    7K RäikkönenFerrari
    8F AlonsoFerrari
    9K MagnussenMcLaren
    10JE VergneToro Rosso
  • 12:40

    Jenson Button, on the grid, mentions that it's still sunny on his side of the grid so that may keep temperatures up longer than on the other side.

  • 12:44

    QuoteClaire Williams: "It’s all good, but this is the biggest race we’ve had for a long time. We’ve got to beat the Ferraris and get P3. I think I’m the only nervous one in the team, they’re like business as usual and got to get this done. The car suits this track, it’s great in sectors 1 and 2, we struggle in sector 3. A lot of people are saying we could win this race… the team know there are no heroics to happen, we just have to beat Ferrari."

  • 12:45
    Race ready

    Clean and crisp conditions at Abu Dhabi, via @SauberF1Team.

  • 12:46

    The drivers have made their way to the front of the grid for the national anthem. A moment to reflect.

  • 12:53

    Rosberg gets strapped into his Mercedes on the pole position slot, he looks a bit nervous as he gets in the zone.

  • 12:54

    Weather icon

    Wind speed1.5mps
  • 12:55

    TweetTweet from @Ericsson_Marcus: Alright it's time! Sad to not race today as I think it will be an amazing race, but next year I will!!

  • 12:58

    I haven't mentioned that it is double points here, but I'm sure you're well aware of that by now! 50 points for a victory. Hamilton really wants to finish first or second to secure the title. The combinations are highlighted excellently by BadgerGP here.

  • 12:59

    There's so much tension, in the pit lane, on track, here at Sidepodcast HQ.

  • 13:00

    Rosberg leads the field away for the formation lap, the mechanics jog back to the pit lane to clear the path for the race start proper.

  • 13:02

    TweetTweet from @MercedesAMGF1: Starts reported as all good - more of the same please...

  • 13:03

    Rosberg rounds the final corner to lead the field back to the grid. The Red Bull pair are released from the garage to line up at the end of the pit lane.

  • 13:03

    Green flagRace started.

  • 13:04 Lap 1

    Rosberg has a terrible start and Lewis streaks into the lead into the first corner.

  • 13:04 Lap 1

    Bottas also had a rubbish start, dropping way down to eighth place. Rosberg nearly lost out to Massa into the first corner but retains his second place for now.

  • 13:05 Lap 1

    Button has moved up to fourth place.

  • 13:05 Lap 1

    The top eight all have the supersoft tyres on, with Hülkenberg and Magnussen in ninth and tenth with the softs on.

  • 13:06 Lap 2

    Grosjean comes into the pit lane for his drive through penalty.

  • 13:07 Lap 2

    On the first lap, Magnussen got tapped by a Force India which put him off line and lacking grip. He pulled onto the long back straight, and it looks like Sutil just swung into the McLaren, making side contact.

  • 13:07 Lap 3

    Race controlDRS enabled.

  • 13:07 Lap 3

    Hamilton has already broken the DRS to Rosberg, after his scampering start.

  • 13:08 Lap 3

    In the Williams versus Ferrari battle, Bottas' drop down the order hasn't helped their cause at all. Both the Ferrari drivers are ahead of him now, with Massa holding the fort in third place.

  • 13:09 Lap 3
    Battle for 4th
  • 13:09 Lap 4

    At the back of the field, Ricciardo is ahead of Vettel, and they've both dispatched Will Stevens in the Caterham.

  • 13:11 Lap 5

    Magnussen did query damage on his front tyre after the bashing from Sutil, but the team have kept him out on track.

  • 13:11 Lap 5

    Bottas reports some early graining on his tyres.

  • 13:12 Lap 5
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:12 Lap 5

    Alonso takes to the outside of Kimi Räikkönen, sweeping past for fifth place. Kimi looks out of sorts as he loses a position to Kvyat as well.

  • 13:13 Lap 6

    That move was for nothing really, as Alonso makes an early pit stop for the soft compounds.

  • 13:13 Lap 6

    Sutil comes in for a pit stop as well.

  • 13:14 Lap 6

    Valtteri Bottas has moved ahead of Räikkönen now too, he's up to sixth as he tries to recover from that poor start.

  • 13:15 Lap 7

    Jenson Button, Daniil Kvyat and Kimi Räikkönen file into the pit lane in that order. Decent stops all round, 2.3 seconds for Ferrari.

  • 13:16 Lap 7

    Alonso, having pitted early, is at the rear of the field and battling with Will Stevens down the long back straight. You'd think it would be easy, but Stevens stays alongside him for much of that straight.

  • 13:16 Lap 8

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: Hulkenberg is the leading contender on the soft tyres, poised to lead the race. #AbuDhabiGP. Alonso first to change to softs.

  • 13:17 Lap 8

    Gutiérrez and Maldonado come in for their first stops of the afternoon/evening.

  • 13:17 Lap 8

    Because of those early pit stops, we've got Ricciardo up to 8th place and Vettel in 10th now. A Magnussen sits between them.

  • 13:18 Lap 9

    Team radioTeam radio to Valtteri Bottas: "This is great, all of the cars pitting are in traffic. This is where we're going to make our day."

  • 13:18 Lap 9

    Hamilton has opened the gap to his teammate to 2.4 seconds.

  • 13:19 Lap 9

    Grosjean pits, for his first strategy stop, and he takes on board the supersofts for a second stint.

  • 13:20 Lap 10

    Race controlLap 1, turn 6 incident involving Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg under investigation - forcing another driver off the track.

  • 13:22 Lap 11

    Hamilton gets the call to come in for his pit stop, and he relinquishes the lead to his teammate as he comes in for the soft tyres.

  • 13:22 Lap 11
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverL Hamilton
    Pit lane21.885s
  • 13:22 Lap 11
    P15 at time of his 2.2secs pit stop
    Credit: Lotus_F1Team/Twitter

    Grosjean's first scheduled stop goes smoothly at Lotus.

  • 13:23 Lap 11

    Race control5 second stop/go penalty for Nico Hülkenberg - forcing another drivers off the track.

  • 13:23 Lap 12

    Rosberg's turn for a pit stop, just one lap later than Hamilton.

  • 13:24 Lap 12
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverN Rosberg
    Pit lane21.741s
  • 13:24 Lap 12

    Massa is now leading the race, still on those supersoft tyres. Hamilton and Rosberg are behind, ready to return to their positions once the Williams driver pits.

  • 13:25 Lap 13

    Side by side action for Ricciardo and Vergne, the Australian gets ahead briefly but then Vergne comes back and snatches his place back. That's 6th place they are scrapping for.

  • 13:26 Lap 13

    Bottas has taken his pit stop, and rejoined ahead of the two Ferrari drivers who have both also pitted once apiece. So, the Williams/Ferrari fight has tilted back in favour of Williams for now.

  • 13:28 Lap 14
    Driver Analysis
    DriverD Ricciardo
    TeamRed Bull
    Last lap1:51.337
    Best lap1:48.420
  • 13:28 Lap 14

    Vergne comes in for his pit stop after complaining he'd taken too much out of his tyres in those feisty laps against Ricciardo.

  • 13:29 Lap 14

    Felipe Massa pits from the lead of the race, putting Hamilton back in front. The Brazilian driver rejoins in third place.

  • 13:31 Lap 16

    Bottas radio suggests there's a pit board on track after turn one. That seems unusual.

  • 13:32 Lap 16

    Hülkenberg comes in for a stop, he had the soft compound on so was expected to go further into the race than this. He takes a second soft compound on, but also has to take his five second penalty.

  • 13:32 Lap 16

    Yellow flagYellow flags as Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso sits widthways across the track. The marshals push the car out of the way.

  • 13:33 Lap 17

    Team radioTeam radio to Nico Rosberg: "Keep the gap to a manageable proportion to Lewis. We'll plan to go longer than him."

  • 13:35 Lap 18

    Rosberg sets some of the fastest sectors of the race so far, which turns into the fastest lap.

  • 13:35 Lap 18

    Replays of Daniil Kvyat radio: "Losing power, losing power guys. Feels like... oh no, I'm losing everything now."

  • 13:36 Lap 19

    Only three drivers have yet to come into the pit lane, that's Ricciardo and Vettel, with Kevin Magnussen also running a long first stint.

  • 13:37 Lap 19
    Driver Positions
    11L Hamilton1
    2-1N Rosberg1
    31F Massa1
    416D Ricciardo0
    5-2V Bottas1
    63K Magnussen0
    712S Vettel0
    8-2J Button1
    9-1F Alonso1
    10-3K Räikkönen1
  • 13:39 Lap 20

    Ricciardo is instructed not to make life easy for Bottas but that "it's not really our race." Bottas is in fifth, on fresher tyres, and looking to get past the Red Bull driver.

  • 13:40 Lap 21

    Team radioTeam radio from Kevin Magnussen: "The tyres are holding up very well. Very good."

  • 13:42 Lap 21

    Hülkenberg's having some stress over the radio with his engineer. Asking why he had a penalty, and not getting a response. "When I ask a question, please answer," he said. "What was the question?" The engineer asks.

  • 13:42 Lap 22

    Magnussen and Vettel come in for their first stops of the day.

  • 13:43 Lap 23

    They opt for different strategies. Magnussen has taken on the super softs, whilst Vettel has gone for another set of softs. It was a slow getaway from the pitbox for Vettel, too.

  • 13:44 Lap 23

    All drivers out on track, except Kevin Magnussen, are now on the soft compounds. Yellow stripes ahoy.

  • 13:47 Lap 25

    Replays show Nico Rosberg locked up towards the end of a lap, and the gap to Hamilton has extended to 7 seconds now.

  • 13:47 Lap 25

    Team radioTeam radio from Nico Rosberg: "Losing engine power."

  • 13:48 Lap 25

    Engineer reports ERS has failed on Rosberg's car. That's a huge loss of power and therefore pace on his car.

  • 13:49 Lap 26

    Massa is closing in on Rosberg, then. Just under three seconds between them.

  • 13:52 Lap 27

    Rosberg reporting it feels like more than just an ERS failure, and the pit wall are looking into it. Massa sweeps past the struggling Mercedes down the long back straight.

  • 13:52 Lap 27

    Kimi Räikkönen pits for his second stop of the afternoon. A second stint of soft tyres go on the Ferrari.

  • 13:53 Lap 28

    Daniel Ricciardo finally comes in to the pit lane for his first stop. He exits as Fernando Alonso comes in.

  • 13:53 Lap 28

    Maldonado is ON FIRE!

  • 13:54 Lap 29

    Yellow flagYellow flags as the Lotus pulls off track with huge flames issuing from the rear of the car. He's out and safe, gesturing for marshals to bring fire extinguishers in.

  • 13:54 Lap 29
    Lotus fire
  • 13:55 Lap 29

    The Lotus mechanics in the garage are laughing. Odd!

  • 13:56 Lap 30

    Jenson Button has come in for a pit stop and rejoined in 10th place, he's directly ahead of Fernando Alonso who is scrapping to get past.

  • 13:56 Lap 30

    Alonso pulls alongside but Button has the inside line. Magnussen is right behind Alonso as well, looking to capitalise if possible.

  • 13:56 Lap 30

    Mistake from Button, he goes too deep and lets the Ferrari past. He's in danger of losing out to Magnussen now as well.

  • 13:57 Lap 30

    Magnussen has come into the pit lane, leaving Button to continue unhindered.

  • 13:58 Lap 31
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:59 Lap 31

    Massa posted a lap time two seconds faster than Hamilton on that lap, but it's not clear if there's a problem or if he's just taking it easy out in front.

  • 13:59 Lap 31

    Hamilton radio suggests they've just turned the car down to try and manage the situation and keep the reliability.

  • 14:00 Lap 32

    Hamilton pits for the second time. Another clean job by the Mercedes mechanics. 2.7 seconds.

  • 14:00 Lap 32

    Hamilton rejoins directly behind Nico Rosberg, who has yet to make his second pit stop. This could be tricky though.

  • 14:01 Lap 32

    It's fine, Hamilton gets in front down the long straight and poor Rosberg has nothing in the tank to defend.

  • 14:01 Lap 32

    Felipe Massa is back in the lead again.

  • 14:03 Lap 33

    Valtteri Bottas is the next to sail past Rosberg. That's third place for the Williams driver.

  • 14:06 Lap 35

    Rosberg is told to come in to the pits, and he has to do a manual getaway. It's a 4.7 second stop, but he's going again.

  • 14:06 Lap 35

    He rejoins in seventh place, behind two Force Indias.

  • 14:07 Lap 36

    Valtteri Bottas comes in for his second stop, a lovely clean job by the Williams crew. They're eyeing up a double podium finish here in Abu Dhabi.

  • 14:08 Lap 36

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: ROS pits, promoting Checo to P5 and Nico to P6. Our drivers still on their 2nd stint of the race, on Soft tyres.

  • 14:10 Lap 37

    StopwatchRicciardo sets the fastest lap of the race so far - 1:46.646.

  • 14:11 Lap 38

    The two Caterham drivers have been lapped now. Kobayashi is ahead of Will Stevens, but both are still running in a race they weren't actually expected to attend.

  • 14:12 Lap 38

    Weather icon

    Wind speed2.2mps
  • 14:12 Lap 38
    One to Watch
    D Ricciardovs.V Bottas
  • 14:13 Lap 39

    Felipe Massa continues to lead the race, but is expected to come in for his second stop of the day relatively soon.

  • 14:16 Lap 41

    Rosberg has a bit of a moment as he starts the 41st lap of the race. He then loses a position to Jenson Button, as his struggles continue.

  • 14:18 Lap 41

    Vettel takes the inside line against Sergio Pérez, but outbrakes himself into the corner and allows the Force India back through again. They're scrabbling for fifth place. Nico Hülkenberg has moved into the top ten for Force India as well.

  • 14:19 Lap 42

    Pérez comes into the pit lane, after that fight with Vettel. He drops down the order, rejoining in 11th place.

  • 14:20 Lap 43

    Nico Hülkenberg sweeps past Fernando Alonso, taking eighth place from the Ferrari driver.

  • 14:20 Lap 43

    Team radioTeam radio from Lewis Hamilton: "Please don't turn up the car. I'm comfortable, I can pick up the pace if I need to."

  • 14:22 Lap 44

    Felipe Massa finally does come into the pit lane, handing the lead back to Lewis Hamilton. It's a nice clean stop again from the Williams team and Felipe is on his way for second place.

  • 14:22 Lap 44

    Ricciardo is running in third place, but has to take on the supersoft tyres at some point. Presumably he's waiting for the last possible moment to do that.

  • 14:23 Lap 45

    Kamui Kobayashi has come into the pits and it doesn't look like he's going to be heading back out again.

  • 14:25 Lap 46

    The Caterham is back in the garage, his radio replays reported something failed out on track and he was called in to the pits to retire.

  • 14:25 Lap 46

    Rosberg was told he could aim for P5 if he could keep Hülkenberg behind him. He's failed to do that, with Nico moving up to seventh place.

  • 14:27 Lap 47

    StopwatchMassa is on a charge, setting the fastest lap of the race so far. 1:44.953. He's closing the gap to Hamilton, but has less than ten laps of the race left.

  • 14:28 Lap 47

    Vettel has pitted and rejoins the pack way down in tenth place.

  • 14:29 Lap 48

    Daniel Ricciardo is next into the pit lane, he's taking on the super soft tyres for the last seven laps.

  • 14:30 Lap 48
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:31 Lap 49

    Alonso is losing places all over, he's dropped behind Sergio Pérez and loses out to Vettel as well. 10th place for the Spaniard now.

  • 14:33 Lap 50

    Five laps remaining.

  • 14:34 Lap 51

    Sebastian Vettel easily dispatches Nico Rosberg on the back straight. At this rate, Nico may not finish in the points.

  • 14:35 Lap 52

    Rosberg has slowed right down now. Down in 13th place.

  • 14:37 Lap 52

    Massa has closed the gap to leader Hamilton to under four seconds. But just three laps to go.

  • 14:38 Lap 53

    Fernando Alonso has reported power problems and has run off track during the last lap too.

  • 14:39 Lap 54

    Rosberg gets the call to pit and retire but he says "I would like to go the end."

  • 14:42

    Chequered flagLewis Hamilton wins the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the 2014 World Championship!

  • 14:43

    Big hugs from the family and friends in the Mercedes garage, and fireworks light up the sky as the drivers file across the finish line.

  • 14:44

    Lewis does the donuts whilst screeching over the radio. At the other end of the call, on the pit wall, Prince Harry congratulates him!

  • 14:45
    Prince Harry on the radio
  • 14:46
    Race Winner
    DriverL Hamilton
    Race time1:39:02.619
    Race distance305.355km
    Average speed184.982km/h
  • 14:47

    Rosberg gets commiserations over the radio from Paddy Lowe. "You drove like a champion all year." And he'll get a lot of respect for crossing the line and not giving up despite the car failing beneath him.

  • 14:48
    Driver Positions
    11L Hamilton2
    22F Massa2
    30V Bottas2
    416D Ricciardo2
    51J Button2
    66N Hülkenberg2
    74S Pérez2
    811S Vettel2
    9-1F Alonso2
    10-3K Räikkönen2
  • 14:48

    Double podium finish for Williams, that secures them third place in the championship so they are likely just as happy as Mercedes right now!

  • 14:49
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:50

    After all the cheers and the hugs and climbing the steps to the podium green room, Lewis takes a moment to himself in the corner. Emotional.

  • 14:51

    They say Rosberg was connected to Hamilton over the radio too, and congratulated his teammate, rival, and hopefully still friend.

  • 14:52

    Rosberg has somehow found his way into that podium green room and he congratulates Lewis in person.

  • 14:52

    TweetTweet from @ScuderiaFerrari: #Kimi7 on the team radio: "Tough year guys, but thanks a lot for all your support, we'll get it back!"

  • 14:52

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: Today's points bring us to 155 - our highest ever total in the history of our team. An incredible result.

  • 14:53

    TweetTweet from @CaterhamF1: Will crosses the line P17 and thanks everyone over the radio: "Thank you ALL for making it happen!"

  • 14:53

    To the podium they go, and the national anthem plays out to a huge crowd waiting below.

  • 14:55

    Smiles and tears and all of that. Great scenes as Lewis gives the trophy a big kiss and raises it above his head.

  • 14:58

    QuotePodium quotes - Lewis Hamilton: "I’m a bit lost for words really. One thing I want to say is a big huge thank you to all the fans coming all this way. All the flags, all the caps, it made such a difference this weekend. Also my family… and my team, who did an incredible job. Without them I wouldn’t be here today. I can’t really explain how much this means, it means more than the first one, it feels like the first time."

  • 15:00

    QuoteHamilton on Rosberg: "He just came into the room just now, very professional and just said fantastic, you drove really well. And the same to him. All year long he drove well, especially in qualifying. Hats off to him."

  • 15:01

    QuotePodium quotes - Felipe Massa: "It was an incredible race for us. I didn’t expect to have that pace. I was able to keep the tyres, not until the end, but a long part of the race. Then talking to the team, we tried the option, yes, why not. We’re here, we have a big gap to the car behind. We tried, unfortunately Lewis was a little bit too far. I wanted so much that victory. We were close. Hopefully, it’s just the beginning for next year."

  • 15:03

    QuotePodium quotes - Valtteri Bottas: "I always like to be here, obviously the higher the step the better it is. This season, it will do for us like this. It’s been an amazing year, with so much improvement as a team. Getting so much stronger. This last race shows how strong we are getting. The curve is going up, I’m expecting a lot for next year. Now I can say only I’m really thankful I can be part of this team and drive this car."

  • 15:04
    Championship Standings
    1L Hamilton384
    2N Rosberg317
    3D Ricciardo238
    4V Bottas186
    5S Vettel167
  • 15:05
    Championship Standings
    2Red Bull405
  • 15:10

    What an epic season finale that was. And the season as a whole really. Although Mercedes had the domination we've been bored of in previous years, they provided two exceptional drivers fighting to the wire.

  • 15:10

    Tough for Nico Rosberg, but I think he's gained a lot of respect for his racing, his reactions and hopefully he can get stronger from here.

  • 15:10

    Elsewhere, a great job by the Red Bull duo to recover from their pit lane starts, and a fantastic result for the Williams duo and the team as a whole.

  • 15:11

    Further back, Sauber have ended the year with zero points, and finished behind Marussia - who couldn't even make it to the end of the season. There's some serious work to be done back in Switzerland over the winter.

  • 15:12

    Great job by Will Stevens to get to the end of his first race. It's easy to forget the Caterham pair, particularly with the uncomfortable kerfuffle the team have caused. But he had a good, clean first race.

  • 15:13

    We don't know, yet, whether this was Jenson Button's last race, but if it was, he put in a solid performance. I was worried he'd do a Coulthard and retire on the first lap. But he finished fifth, and outclassed his teammate for the final race of the year.

  • 15:16

    So, it's just 111 days to the next race. We can get through this, right? Stay tuned to Sidepodcast during the off-season and we'll attempt to be entertaining. Thanks for all the factfinding fun over the year and there'll be more in 2015!

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