Lewis Hamilton has joined Formula 1’s illustrious ranks of double World Champions after race victory in the season-deciding Abu Dhabi GP emphatically clinched him the 2014 drivers’ title.
In a race in which he only needed to finish second, Hamilton pre-race promise to “drive it like I stole it” played out in sensational fashion in the opening seconds of the race as an electric getaway at the lights saw him vault past his polesitting title rival Rosberg into the lead well before Turn One.
Hamilton immediately set about controlling the race and his lead over Rosberg was in excess of two seconds before his team-mate’s Mercedes developed a critical ERS system failure which effectively settled the tense all-Mercedes season-long title duel in the Briton’s favour.
With Rosberg immediately losing seconds of time and soon starting to slip down the order, the title was effectively Hamilton’s – although a large charge from second-placed Felipe Massa on the supersoft tyres gave him something to think about in terms of the race victory, which he eventually hung on to by 2.5 seconds.
For Rosberg, it proved a heartbreaking finish. His slide down the order culminated in a non-points finish of 14th place and, in one cruel final twist on the penultimate lap, his ailing W05 was lapped by Hamilton.
With Hamilton winning the race – his 11th of his best-ever season – and the title, Massa ended his first year at Williams with a 2014 best of second place as team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished third.
Daniel Ricciardo capped his stellar campaign with a stunning drive from the pitlane to fourth, with Jenson Button finishing what could be his final GP in fifth.