The sun in Abu Dhabi set on not only the race itself, but also the 2015 season. As we prepare for the long, cold winter without the fastest sport on the planet, Charlie Eustice picks his top five things that happened at the season finale.
F1’s green team in administration (Caterham, if you didn’t already figure that out!) have, as you know, been absent from the last two grands prix. Austin and Interlagos were rather lonely affairs with just 18 cars participating. The last time there were 18 entrants was Monaco 2005 – more on that race later.
Though Marussia didn’t quite make it, it was great to see the team spirit prevail at Caterham to boost their team to the final race of the year. They might not have scored any points, but such determination to survive can only be a good thing to potential future investors.
It also gave talented young Formula Renault driver Will Stevens his F1 debut. Honda signed the young Brit back in 2008, and on Tuesday’s test, at the same circuit they rather coincidentally returned to the sport in the back of McLaren’s car.
But that’s another story.
Interlagos 2008, Pt II… nearly
With Hamilton leading and Rosberg’s car in trouble, someone had to at least try to challenge him. In stepped 2008 title rival and 2011 nemesis Felipe Massa, in a Williams car that looked astonishingly quick.
Maybe I’m thinking too poetically here, but part of me would have loved to see Felipe get within DRS range on the last lap. 2014 would have had a great symmetry of having Massa take the victory that Williams have been threatening for the whole of 2014, on the day Lewis took another title win.
And it nearly happened, as the gamble from Williams to take Felipe’s second stint as far as they did meant he could challenge on super-softs as the laps counted down.
Yet it wasn’t to be. The laps ran out, and I’m pretty sure Lewis was taking it easy at the end, but it would have been pretty special, right?
Hamilton and Rosberg’s spat this year was borne out of lust for the title, something they’ve never fought over before. At times it seemed like their feud was over-sensationalised by the media, but it definitely got worse in Monaco and Belgium.
It’s hard to say for sure if Rosberg intentionally made that mistake in Monaco Qualifying, or whether there was any malice in the puncture at Spa, but it appears that the two are now back on speaking terms after Nico was allowed into the post-race cool down room to congratulate his colleague. It’s the first time in a long time that we can remember the two looking one another in the eye, and hopefully a step to repairing their friendship. Your team mate can be your greatest enemy, but also an invaluable ally, so it makes sense really.
Nico showed a lot of grace in defeat – after car troubles all race, he admitted that Hamilton deserved it more, and was extremely complimentary of his team mate’s performances this year. Good on you kid!
His being allowed to congratulate Hamilton also provided perhaps the most iconic image of the season:
Double points did not come into it
As our handy championship permutation may have shown you, Rosberg was powerless to win the title if Hamilton was in the top two positions. It would have caused uproar though, if Hamilton had suffered a technical hitch and the German finished, for example in 5th. That place usually warrants 10 points but in Abu Double it would have been worth 20, enough to overcome the 17-point gap that existed beforehand.
Just don’t tell Lewis or Jenson that we think 5th isn’t a good position from which to win the title…
Double points was the FIA’s knee-jerk reaction to Vettel winning 9 races in-a-row at the end of 2013, and managing to try and fix something that was in mint condition. Thankfully, double points has already gone the way of the dinosaur and will not be returning any time soon. Check out our top 5 daft rules from last week if you want to hear more tales of yore about rules that didn’t last very long.
Hamilton is Champion again!
In the words of Niki Lauda, the best man won. Hamilton’s triumph in Abu Dhabi ensured that he won the title in perfect style, making it 11 wins out of 19 this season, becoming the most successful Brit in F1 history along the way. Sorry Nige.
It’s a shame that we never got to see the ‘Desert Duel’ that was promised, but after a stellar getaway and storming off into the lead, it was a dominating drive that put him on the top of the podium to celebrate his title properly, something he was unable to do in Brazil 6 years ago.
Without any shadow of a doubt, Hamilton has been the class of the field all year, something he showed once again in the United Arab Emirates; his faultless Sunday evening at the Yas Marina circuit made him our Top Dog for the race!
Do you think Rosberg would have been a more deserving champion? What do you think it will be like next season? Let us know in the comments below!