Comparing Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 Desert Duel to Recent Title Deciders

Hamilton Abu Dhabi 2014It was christened the Desert Duel, Double Jeopardy, Abu Double among other terms but one thing was clear; the Abu Dhabi 2014 GP was bound to be exciting. In the world of Formula One, such excitement is always a Godsend.

Hamilton Aces the Desert Duel

At the end of the day, Lewis Hamilton went on to win a second World F1 Title after his challenger Nico Rosberg developed technical problems. But how instrumental was this race in the history of Formula One? You just need to consider that the two drivers had only 17 points between them and 50 points were up for grabs.

Classic Title Deciders

The arithmetic possibilities were myriad but Formula One has a new champion in the 29-year old Briton. As a formula one enthusiast, it is important to assess this duel against other title decides in the history of the sport.

After all, this is the only way to appreciate the importance of Abu Dhabi in the whole scheme of things. Take a look:

  1. 2008 Felipe Massa vs. Lewis Hamilton: Massa was racing in front of his Brazilian fans and the mood was electric. In fact, he was champion for about 30 seconds as Hamilton struggled in the rain and dropped to 6th which was out of a title-winning position. Lewis needed a 5th finish position. Tim Glock the Toyota driver was between Hamilton and a first world Champion title. Eventually Glockon slicks lost grip in the rain and Voila! Hamilton won just by seconds.
  2. 2007 Hamilton vs. Rikkonen vs. Alonso: This was another exciting duel considering it was a battle between a rookie and two experienced drivers. At 22-years Hamilton was still young and eventually lost due to inexperience and bad luck. A botched start and a passing maneuver against Alonso on the back straight and eventually a technical problem. These were enough to give Raikkonen the race winner and an outsider in the ranking the F1 title.
  3. 1997 Schumacher vs. Villeneuve: This was a battle of titans in terms of personalities as well as the cars. It was a red Ferrari driven by Schumacher against the Canadian’s blue Williams. Having dominated the season, only a point between them and same qualifying times the stage was set for drama; and it did not disappoint. Schumacher made a move after the final pit stops damaging the Williams car. Schumacher was unable to finish. Villeneuve drove on to finish 3rd. He clinched the title as the German watched from the side of the track.
  4. 2012 Sebastian Vettel vs. Alonso: Two great drivers with the best racing machines in the world and 13 points separating them. Vettel had the advantage going into the Interlagos but a poor start, spinning on lap one while trying to recover and a crash with Bruno Senna’s Williams, it seemed Alonso was going to win. However the German driver fought on with low aerodynamics performance eventually finishing 6th. This was enough to win against Alonso’s 2nd place finish.
  5. 2010 Vettel vs. Alonso vs. Hamilton vs. Webber: 2010 is one of the most exciting seasons of recent years. It also provided the only 4-way deciders. Hamilton and Vettel were the outsiders but bad luck and some bad calls from the team denied Alonso victory with a 7thplace finish. Vettel won the race and amazingly the championship.

Of course, there are many other duels including 1989 Ayrton Senna vs. Prost, 1994 Schumacher vs. Damon Hill, 1986 Prost vs. Mansel vs. Piquet among others. The common thread in all these is the fact that legends are born in these title deciders.

Could Abu Dhabi GP have given Formula One another legend? Just have to wait and see.