The last race of 2014 F1 season comes up at Abu Dhabi during November 21-23, 2014. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the two top contenders for the title of 2014 World Champion are headed for a photo-finish. The Mercedes teammates; Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, are also the sport’s bitterest rivals and after the Brazilian GP, 17 points separates them with Hamilton holding the edge. Anything can happen at Abu Dhabi and analysts are at work with possible results of Abu Dhabi in focus. The scenario is; a) if Rosberg is first then Hamilton must take second position to become world champion; b) if Rosberg is second, 5th place is fine for Hamilton; c) if Rosberg is third, even 6th place is fine for Hamilton; d) if Rosberg is fourth, Hamilton needs to only reach the 8th place; e) if Rosberg is fifth, then 9th place is okay for Hamilton; and f) if Rosberg goes lower than sixth place then Hamilton will be the champion. Therefore the dice is firmly loaded in favor of the Briton, except that he must not get disqualified or suffer any other mishap in a sport that is full of all the vague possibilities.
The 2014 season began in Australia, where Rosberg finished with a 25-point advantage as Hamilton was forced to retire after 2 laps with car malfunction. In the second race at Malaysia’s Sepang international circuit, Hamilton scored a formidable victory and cut Rosberg’s lead by 7 points. Season’s third race was run under floodlights at Bahrain, where the teammates went neck-to-neck. Hamilton passed Rosberg early but the German regained his first position at lap 19, only to lose it again in the same lap. In lap 52, they were still running together but Hamilton just managed to win by a whisker and cut Rosberg’s championship lead by another 7 points.
At Shanghai, Hamilton scored his third victory on trot and Rosberg’s lead was reduced to just 4 points. Mercedes had already emerged as a dominant force in 2014. Barcelona hosted season’s fifth race, where Hamilton took the pole and won by just 0.6 seconds despite a close challenge from Rosberg. For the first time in 2014, Hamilton took a 3 point lead over Rosberg. The next race took place at Monte Carlo, where tension erupted after Rosberg went out of qualifying and triggered a yellow flag that denied Hamilton an opportunity to take pole. Monaco’s tricky circuit made overtaking impossible and Rosberg not only won the race but also regained the championship lead by 4 points. In Canadian GP, Hamilton retired with brake failure and Rosberg was pushed to second spot by Ricciardo and the German now led by 22 points. In season’s eighth race at Spielberg, Mercedes didn’t start on front row for the first time. Rosberg started from third and Hamilton from ninth but the two Mercedes cars went into the lead and in the end, Rosberg beat Hamilton by 1.9 seconds and widened his championship lead to 29.
In ninth race at Silverstone Circuit, Hamilton made another qualifying error that placed him far back in the grid. But in the main race, Hamilton bounced back miraculously and since Rosberg retired because of gearbox failure, Hamilton cut 25 points from Rosberg’s lead before the 10th race in Germany. There was another qualifying mishap for Hamilton, who crashed out in Q1 and couldn’t take part in Q2. Racing at home, Rosberg sailed to victory and despite a disadvantageous start, the aggressive Hamilton finished third. Rosberg’s lead went to 14 points after Hockenheim. In Hungary, Hamilton’s car caught fire during Q1 and he was consigned to the pitlane. Rosberg had the pole but he was stranded by the deployment of the safety car. There was more tension, when Hamilton acted against the wishes of his team managers and didn’t allow Rosberg to pass him and won the race. Rosberg, however, still held 11-point championship lead.
The Belgian GP brought a bitter moment, when the two rivals made contact just as the German tried to pass in second lap. Hamilton’s tyre was instantly punctured and as he attempted to return to pits, the tyre came apart. This caused substantial damage to bodywork. Though Hamilton got back on track, the race was ruined for him. Rosberg also lost the race to Ricciardo but his lead got embellished to 29 points. In the Italian GP next, Hamilton took pole but poor start in the main race allowed Rosberg to go in front. However, Hamilton caught up with Rosberg and as the Briton closed in, Rosberg cracked under pressure and hit the chicane. Hamilton emerged the winner and reduced Rosberg’s lead by 7 points.
The next race took place in floodlights at Singapore, where Rosberg had an electronic glitch. He was pushed for a pitlane start but couldn’t continue beyond lap 15 and Hamilton won and also regained the championship lead. The Japanese GP was next and despite Rosberg having the pole, Hamilton emerged victorious and took his championship lead to 10 points. But the race had to be stopped early after Marussia driver Jules Bianchi suffered a life-threatening accident and everyone had his mind focused on the well-being of Bianchi.
In Russian GP at Sochi, Hamilton performed solidly to lead from start to finish. Despite tyre problems, Rosberg did well and finished second. Hamilton by now had enhanced his lead to 17 points. In the Circuit of Americas at US, Hamilton’s victory widened the gap over Rosberg to 24 points. Next was the Brazilian GP, where Rosberg took the pole and won. Now Hamilton leads by 17 points and with Abu Dhabi bringing up the end of the season run, the two Mercedes drivers are interestingly poised.
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