Lewis Hamilton claimed his second Formula One championship after storming to a thrilling victory in Abu Dhabi.
The Mercedes driver adopted a two-stop strategy, starting on the P Zero Red supersoft tyre from second on the grid, but taking the lead at the start before completing two stints on the P Zero Yellow soft, to snatch what was his first championship title on Pirelli tyres.
During the closing stages of the race, Hamilton was challenged by Williams driver Felipe Massa, who used a different two-stop strategy to him. Massa started on the supersoft from fourth on the grid, switched to the soft, and then ran the final 13 laps on the supersoft again, which was around a second per lap faster than the soft.
After being excluded from qualifying, both Red Bull drivers started from the pitlane, adopting a similar soft-soft-supersoft strategy. This helped Daniel Ricciardo to finish fourth, having risen as high as third, and set the fastest lap of the race. Ricciardo was also the highest-placed finisher to start the race on the soft tyre, with all but six drivers beginning the grand prix on the supersoft.
With falling track and air temperatures, the circuit tended to get faster as the race progressed, meaning that the teams had to monitor tyre wear and degradation carefully. Both compounds performed exactly in line with expectations, allowing drivers and teams to push to the maximum.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli tyres, said: “Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton for winning the title, and also to Nico Rosberg, who provided him with fantastic opposition all year. The tyres performed as we expected them to here, in line with the data we had collected before the race.
“We saw a wide variety of interesting strategies at work today, with Massa showcasing the speed of the supersoft at the end of the race, and Ricciardo putting in a great performance from the back after starting on the soft. It’s been a fascinating end to a compelling season, but we’re already turning our attention to 2015 as we embark on the final test of the season here next week on Tuesday and Wednesday, where some our new tyres will make their debut.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office