“You made me believe that I can do anything”
Fuelled by his fans and armed with one of the finest cars ever built, Hamilton sails to a second title
Fate, destiny, kismet… call it what you will, but there can be no argument that the right man won. Not only the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, of course, which Lewis Hamilton despatched in commanding style, but the 2014 world championship contest, from which he emerged a wholly convincing victor.
Circle completed, he took the winner’s 50-point haul at this nal race, while team-mate and sole title rival Nico Rosberg suffered engine gremlins (chiey ERS failure) that dropped him to 14th, lapped and pointless, by the chequered ag. Nine months ago, half a world and a lifetime away in Melbourne, it was Rosberg who prospered as Hamilton’s PU106A dropped a spark plug and forced a retirement. On this heady Emirati night, it was Nico’s turn to suffer, the ght snatched from him through no fault of his own. And certainly not from lack of spirit. As electrical woes seeped like a virus through his W05 Hybrid from lap 26, Nico became ever more urgent in his demands for information from his pitcrew, desperate to know if there was a sequence of buttons to push, a reset to perform, that might re-energise his ailing craft.
When he slid off at Turn 1 on lap 47, having missed his braking point because of the reduced braking capacity resulting from ERS failure, he seemed wounded prey: refusing to die, but battling insurmountable odds.
He went down gallantly, ignoring a team call to retire, insisting that he push his car over the line and declaring: “I want to go to the end”. And that says so much about his role in the epic season just gone – as did his immensely sporting gesture of seeking out Hamilton in his moment of triumph to congratulate him, publicly, before a billion global eyeballs.
But could the year ever have been his? He contributed massively to 2014 – offering speed (11 poles), guile (Monaco), skulduggery (Spa) and nous (Canada) – but on race day, all year long, Lewis was the faster man. And for this alone, not to mention a new-found grace under pressure, Hamilton deserved this title more than any other. He had a brilliant car, yes, but he also drove quite brilliantly, as much here as anywhere.
As with any race or title success, the foundations were laid long before the competitive moment – years ago, in fact. Post-race, Hamilton was swift to praise the likes of Mercedes F1 architects Ross Brawn and Niki Lauda for luring him to the team in 2012 and convincing him that together they could continue building the dream of sporting deication. On a more prosaic level, Lewis spoke, too, of the visit to his hotel room by his clutch engineer on race morning, to check through the settings he’d want on this title-deciding day. In the complex and delicately balanced world of Lewis Hamilton, questions of ‘torque versus slip’ are as vital a component of success as existential considerations of man versus god.