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2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in pictures

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Another Formula 1 season has come and gone and, as usual, it’s been a hell of a ride. Lews Hamilton’s win in Abu Dhabi secured his second world crown and put the perfect exclamation mark on a season of dominance for Mercedes AMG.

It’s a big job for a sole contributor compiling a season’s worth of F1 images too. Apologies for the delay in getting these images to you, but I’m not scared to admit there’s a sense of relief in posting the last gallery of photos for the year.

Never fear, the lure of F1 is great and I’ll be back again in 2015, hope to see you here.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Abu Dhabi GP: Post-race press conference

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

As you might expect the post-race press conference after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was all about the newly crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton. It’s good for the fans that he was on the podium so that we can get a first-hand account of his thoughts after a big season.

Similarly, it would have been nice to see Daniel Ricciardo on the podium so we might have been able to get some more insight into his breakout year in Formula 1. Instead we have to make do with the words supplied to us by Red Bull:

“I think it was pretty much a faultless race from all sides, from the strategy, to myself and the pit stops, everything was good so we did everything we needed to,” Daniel said. “I had fun passing, it wasn’t boring out there, so it was pretty much what I asked for. One spot better would have been nice, but fourth is really cool from the pit lane.

“It’s been pretty much a perfect season, as perfect as it can be without holding a world title, so no real regrets, no complaints. It’s nice to not only start the season well, but to finish it well also and I think all the way through it was good—we had a strong summer as well, so the start, middle and end were pretty good!”

If last summer was a strong one, let’s pray this summer is a bit stronger for Daniel and Red Bull. It will need to be of they’re to catch the all conquering Silver Arrows.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 Abu Dhabi GP

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton secured his eleventh race win for the season and his second world championship with victory in the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix overnight.

The 29-year-old Briton made a lightning start from P2 on the grid, powering into the lead leaving his championship rival and teammate Nico Rosberg in his wake. Rosberg wasn’t able to mount a serious challenge and his title hopes were dashed mid-race when his ERS system failed, meaning he lost the ability to boost engine performance by 120kW for 33 seconds per lap.

Despite his engineer asking him to retire with two laps to go, Rosberg held on to finish the race having dropped to a lowly P14 and was also lapped by Hamilton.

Felipe Massa made a late charge and although Hamilton’s winning margin was a reasonably slender 2.5 seconds the Williams driver wasn’t able to get close enough to challenge for the lead of the race. In the end Massa will be happy with P2, his highest finishing position this season.

Valtteri Bottas finished third and proved he’s got some serious potential. The 30 points he collected were enough to elevate him to fourth in the world championship.

After starting from the pitlane due an illegal wing used in qualifying Daniel Ricciardo impressed everyone, but surprised noone to charge his way through the field to finish the race in P4. He also set the fastest lap and a podium finish may have been possible had he been able to start from the P5 he qualified in. Still, it’s a been a great year for Daniel and we hope Red Bull is able to provide him with a decent car in 2015.

Jenson Button finished fifth in what could be his final race in Formula 1. It would be a quiet and understated ending for the likeable Brit if that were the case. As a world champion he probably deserved the right to say goodbye, assuming McLaren has already made up its mind on who will drive for the team next year.

The Force India pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finished in sixth and seventh, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton’s win is the 33rd of his career, which now moves him ahead of Fernando Alonso on the all time winners list. In addition to his 2008 title, he now joins Jim Clark (1963, 1965) and Graham Hill (1962, 1968) as Britons who have won two world championships.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Video

Do you think Lewis will do this tonight?

Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna collide at the start of the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton is no stranger to winning an F1 world championship in dramatic circumstances; remember those closing laps in 2008? Yet three years—1989, 1990 and 1994—stick in the memory as moments when the world champion was decided in highly controversial circumstances.

With two races to go in 1989 Ayrton Senna trailed his fierce rival Alain Prost by 16 points in the title race and needed to win the Japanese Grand Prix in order to take the championship to the final race in Adelaide. On lap 47 we saw one of the most iconic incidents in Formula 1 when the two collided. If both cars retired that was enough for Prost to claim the title. But more controversy was to follow after Senna was able to restart and go on to win the race, only to be later disqualified.

The following year the tables were turned in the Senna v Prost battle. This time Senna held the upper hand and Prost needed to win at Suzuka to keep his championship hopes alive. The image above shows what happened when the two cars fought for position into the first corner. Senna clipped the back of Prost’s car and forced both cars out of the race. Senna became world champion for the second time.

Four years later the championship fight made it to the last race of the season in Adelaide. It was desperately close, with Michael Schumacher a single point ahead of Damon Hill. On lap 36 Schumacher was leading the race but ran wide at Turn 5 allowing Hill to catch up and as the pair fought for position going into Turn 6 the result was seemingly inevitable. Contact was made, both men retired and Schumacher won his first world championship.

We’re not categorically saying Prost (1989), Senna (1990) and Schumacher (1994) deliberately caused those infamous accidents. But watch the videos after the break and then put yourself in Lewis Hamilton’s shoes. Would you deliberately cause a race-ending incident in order to secure yourself a Formula 1 world championship?

[Pic: F1 Fanatic]

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Abu Dhabi GP: Lewis v Nico title fight

Lews Hamilton v Nico Rosberg, 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton enjoys a 17 point lead over Nico Rosberg heading into tonight’s final grand prix of the year. He is the favourite to win the 2014 F1 world championship. But with double points on offer in Abu Dhabi Nico Rosberg needs to only finish fifth (20 points) to close the gap. Of course, if that is the case then Lewis would only need a P9 (4 points) result to deny Rosberg.

We thank Sky Sports F1 for the graphic above which shows in a simple format what each driver needs to do to win the title, based on Rosberg’s results.

[Pic: @SkySportsF1]

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 Abu Dhabi GP qualifying report

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg needs a lot to go right for him this weekend to wrest the world championship from the grasp of Lewis Hamilton and he started well by earning himself pole position for tonight’s race.

Rosberg’s time (1:40.480) was comfortably faster than Hamilton’s (1:40.866) who made a few minor mistakes. It would be easy to say the pressure is getting to Lewis and maybe it is, but if he can stay out of trouble and finish the race he should be celebrating his second world championship.

Valtteri Bottas (1:41.025) edged out a flying Felipe Massa (1:41.119) for P3 but as the image above shows, the only story in town is all about the Lewis v Nico title fight.

Qualifying in P5 and P6 were Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo (1:41.267) and Sebastian Vettel (1:41.893) but they have both been disqualified for running an illegal front wing.

Speaking before the Stewards had disqualified him Ricciardo said: “I’m really happy with quali; we knew after FP3 we had a bit of work to do, but we knew when the sun went down the temperature would drop so we stayed optimistic that our set up would work better in the evening and we made some good changes for that.

“I was the happiest I have been all weekend during quali. We are fairly close to the Williams and not too far off at least one of the Mercs, so not a bad session.”

Daniel and Sebastian will start from the back of the grid and any points they can claim will be a bonus.

The top 10 was rounded out by Daniil Kvyat (1:41.908), Jenson Button (1:41.964), Kimi Raikonnen (1:42.236) and Fernando Alonso (1:42.866).

It will be all eyes on the front of the grid at the start of the grand prix. Lewis Hamilton needs third or better to guarantee his title win. Let’s hope we see an exciting and fair race.

Caterham Formula 1

Caterham F1 Team ready for one last dance

2014 Singapore Grand Prix

“The Caterham F1 Team is delighted to announce that it will be racing at the final Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi next week thanks to the support of the fans, who have helped the team raise enough money to make it possible through Crowdcube, the world’s leading investment crowdfunding platform.”

So reads an announcement on the Caterham F1 Team website. At least Bernie will be happy his F1 fans can afford to pay for an F1 team, even if its for one race only.

Caterham’s appearance in Abu Dhabi will be in contrast to the fact the team has made its 230 staff redundant. Apparently that move has been done with the staff’s blessing so that they may commence formal claims, assuming a buyer cannot be found. No wages have been paid at Caterham since 30 September.

Kamui Kobayashi will drive one of the cars in Abu Dhabi, but former teammate Marucs Ericsson, armed with the security of a job in 2015, has told Caterham to bugger off.

So, too, has Andre Lotterer, who drove for Caterham in Spa earlier this year.

That leaves reserve driver Roberto Mehri claiming the drive is his and he has a contract to prove it. Haha, kids these days.

Good luck to Caterham in Abu Dhabi. But really, what a mess!

[Source: Autosport]

Caterham F1 in pictures Ferrari Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in pictures

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Another grand prix another stroll in the park for Sebastian Vettel. At least the photographers were given a tougher ride than Vettel at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, having to contend with twilight conditions before freezing the action under lights. We think you’ll agree they did a fine job, too.

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

VIDEO: Get your free donuts here!

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Last week it cost Red Bull €25,000 so newly crowned world champion Sebastian Vettel could indulge in the art of the donut. This week the team has not only learnt its lesson but seen both Vettel and Mark Webber celebrate their one-two finish with a simultaneous donut display.

The best part is, it turns out if you return your car back in parc ferme, as per usual protocol, you are free to do donuts to your heart’s content. Although, we do wonder how long the FIA will humour drivers before providing some guidelines on when you can and can’t be a loon.

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2013 Abu Dhabi GP: Post-race press conference

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Reflecting on his victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel was asked what it was like to equal the record of seven successive race wins jointly held by Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari. As is often the case Vettel spoke with humility and grace. He may be Formula 1’s pantomime villain, but after some time he’s maturing into a pretty decent guy, really.

In his comments Mark Weber spoke openly about his struggle with the Pirelli tyres, especially the soft compound rubber. He looked very happy on the podium last night and it was great to see him enjoying himself.

Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo expressed his disappointment after starting in the top 10 but finishing down in P16. Let’s hope he doesn’t develop Mark’s habit of poor starts when he moves to Red Bull. “This was not at all the race I was hoping for,” he said. “In this sport, if the start doesn’t go well, it’s hard to recover, so I want to look at the data to understand what happened. The car didn’t get off the line well and then, at Turn 1 there was a bit of chaos as I dropped back into the group behind me.

“I had to run wide to avoid some accidents and from then on, my race was pretty much over. At the moment, our pace is not sufficient to fight back into the top 10 if something like this happens. We must see what we can do to have better starts, because when we get good ones, we have generally gone on to score points.”

The full transcript of the post-race press conference featuring the first three drivers can be read after the break.

[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel wins 2013 Abu Dhabi GP

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel literally drove off into the sunset at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, on the way to another all too familiar dominant victory. It’s his seventh grand prix win in a row and his 30.8 second margin over Red Bull teammate Mark Webber tells the story.

Mark got off the line okay but was quickly gobbled up by Sebastian then Nico Rosberg (Mercedes AMG), who slipped back to third at the end of the race. Rosberg finished less than three seconds behind Webber and felt a second place may have been possible but was happy to be the best of the rest.

An expected challenge for the podium from Romain Grosjean didn’t bear fruit for the Lotus driver who finished fourth. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) once again raced better than he qualified, finishing fifth ahead of Paul di Resta (Force India) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes AMG).

Felipe Massa (Ferrari) and Sergio Perez (McLaren) provided some entertaining moments in mid-pack battles on the way to P8 and P9 respectively. While Adrian Sutil (Force India) picked up the final point on offer in a close fought affair.

Daniel Ricciardo couldn’t convert his ninth place start into points and he and Toro Rosso teammate Jean-Eric Vergne took a form finish of sorts back in sixteenth and seventeenth.

Kimi Raikkonen’s (Lotus) fight through the field from last place on the grid was short lived after contact with Giedo van der Garde (Caterham) forced him into retirement after the first corner.

Red Bull will be pleased with the one-two finish taking them to a total of 100 podiums in F1. But, as usual, the night was all about Sebastian and for the second race in a row he delighted fans with a series of donuts. This time though he took his car back to parc ferme as required.

Right now, he’s just too bloody good.

[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2013 Abu Dhabi GP: Qualifying report

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

For the second time in three races Mark Webber will start from pole position. In qualifying at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix overnight Webber (1:39.957) was the only driver to lap below 1 minute 40 seconds after he nailed his lap to leave everyone in his wake.

Speaking after qualifying Mark said greater experience at the Yas Marina circuit helped him achieve pole. “You can never stop learning, mate, even at this age, so it was a good day and puts us in a good position tomorrow,” he said.

Teammate and newly crowned 2013 world champion Sebastian Vettel (1:40.075) was close behind, with some margin back to Nico Rosberg (1:40.419) in P3. Lewis Hamilton (1:40.501) will start alongside his Mercedes AMG teammate and will be happy to do so after spinning out late in Q3.

Kimi Raikkonen (1:40.542) qualified fifth but he was disqualified when stewards found fault with the floor of his car. He will start at the back of the grid and his relationship with Lotus must be close to breaking point.

Nico Hulkenberg (1:40.576) is the first driver to benefit from Raikkonen’s misfortune, moving to P5. Behind him will be Romain Grosjean (1:40.997) and Felipe Massa (1:41.015), who once again qualified ahead of his more fancied teammate Fernando Alonso (1:41.093) back in P10.

Daniel Ricciardo (1:41.111) got himself into Q3 and now moves to P9 after Kimi’s penalty, but says he could have done better. “My Q2 lap was a very good one, but not the best, so I came into Q3 feeling I could improve in a few areas. We decided to make a slight adjustment to the front tyre pressures which turned out not to be the right decision, as I then had to work harder to warm the tyres. The lap itself was not too bad, but the time never came.”

And so we wait for the start of the race, with Webber in P1. It’s Mark’s thirteenth career pole position and brings him equal with Sir Jack Brabham to hold the record for most pole positions by an Australian driver. Fingers crossed he can make a clean and fast start.

[Pics: Red Bull/Getty Images]