Abu Dhabi GP: Driver Ratings

By on Monday, November 24, 2014
Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

1 | Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull-Renault | G: Pits | R: 8th | 7/10

Vettel started his first ever race in a Red Bull backed F1 car in 20th place, and he started his last one there too, so there’s a nice symmetry. Technically, it was from the pit lane, but while his drive was good, it wasn’t great. Getting stuck behind Kevin Magnussen scuppered his progress and he ultimately came home in eighth place

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull-Renault | G: Pits | R: 4th | 10/10

Speaking of symmetry, Ricciardo started his year with a disqualification! However, in the race he was sensational. He carved his way through on rivals and maximised the strategy to claim an unlikely fourth place and finish as the top non-Mercedes rival. A starring end to a starring year.

44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | G: 2nd | R: 1st | 10/10

It’d be difficult to argue against Hamilton as the deserving 2014 champion. He claimed 11 wins and was regularly the more rounded of the two Mercedes drivers. In Abu Dhabi he did what he had to do and while he was aided by fortune, his second world title finally arrived.

6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | G: 1st | R: 14th | 7/10

It was a cruel way for Rosberg’s season to end as he has been a worthy title contender in this extraordinary campaign. The German did get a good start but it would be irrelevant anyway when his ERS failed. To his credit, he battled on valiantly and was quick to congratulate Hamilton.

14 | Fernando Alonso | Ferrari | G: 8th | R: 9th | 7/10

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

Alonso’s Ferrari exit was finally confirmed but it was a messy weekend. Car failure in FP2 hobbled his progress and Ferrari’s need to save engine mileage prevented much running; Q3 error left him at the base of the top 10. The race was little better and his Ferrari career ended with a whimper.

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | G: 7th | R: 10th | 7/10

Räikkönen acknowledged that Ferrari was set for a struggle at Yas Marina and it duly showed in the qualifying results. He lost a few places at the start and was lumbered with a car that prohibited from making progress. An underwhelming race to end a rubbish season.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus-Renault | G: 18th | R: 13th | 7/10

EVEN MORE SYMMETRY. Grosjean started his campaign with a pre-race drive through penalty and ended it with one as well. That left him on the back foot from the off but he tried his hardest, albeit with very little to fight for.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus-Renault | G: 15th | R: Ret | 7/10

Maldonado cut an upbeat figure after the race largely thanks to being able to fight against the Ferrari drivers briefly. Equally, it might be that he has a Mercedes in the back of his E23 next year. At least he gave Renault a spectacular send off, complete with smoke and fire.

22 | Jenson Button | McLaren-Mercedes | G: 6th | R: 5th | 9/10

McLaren Mercedes

McLaren Mercedes

It’d be a shame if Button bowed out of Formula 1 after this race. Once again he maximised what was possible with the machinery at his disposal – McLaren was never quick enough to challenge the cars ahead but he was able to put distance between himself and those behind. A consummate professional.

20 | Kevin Magnussen | McLaren-Mercedes | G: 9th | R: 11th | 5/10

Magnussen was rapid in Q1 but in Q2 he struggled with the rear of the car and was eliminated. A poor start was exacerbated when he was forced wide by Nico Hülkenberg at Turn 6 and then clipped by Adrian Sutil on the exit of Turn 7. Damage to the car made progress a difficult and ultimately fruitless proposition.

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India-Mercedes | G: 12th| R: 6th | 9/10

Hülkenberg had a fairly anonymous build-up to the weekend as both he and Force India struggled for one-lap pace. But in the race he starred, despite a dubious five second penalty for forcing Magnussen wide (“why did I get a f***ing penalty,” he enquired several times).

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India-Mercedes | G: 11th| R: 7th | 8/10

The long-running saga over Pérez’s future finally ended on Saturday evening when Force India tied him to a new ‘multi-year’ deal (though the last time he signed one of those, he was jettisoned by McLaren after a single campaign). His race pace was strong, although stopping fairly late for Options may have prevented him from beating Hülkenberg.

99 | Adrian Sutil | Sauber-Ferrari | G: 13th | R: 16th | 6/10

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber’s continuing desperation for money reached new depths when they handed Adderly Fong a practice session – and in doing so allegedly breached Giedo van der Garde’s contract. Sutil had another dismal race although that was much to do with the limitations of the car – and having to switch to three stops – than his own ability.

21 | Esteban Gutiérrez | Sauber-Ferrari | G: 14th| R: 15th | 7/10

Gutiérrez is set for a reserve role in Formula 1 next year so this could be his last race for a while – or perhaps ever. Was outclassed by Sutil in qualifying but in the race he was able to manage a two stop strategy, albeit finishing outside of the points and ensuring Sauber end the year point-less.

25 | Jean-Éric Vergne | Toro Rosso-Renault | G: 10th| R: 12th | 7/10

French media reported following qualifying that Vergne as out of a drive for 2015 and after some feisty performances that’d be a shame. He was similarly aggressive with Ricciardo as they scrapped for supremacy but he had to play second fiddle and came home a lowly 12th.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Toro Rosso-Renault | G: 5th | R: Ret | 7/10

Kvyat did a superb job to make Q3 in the Toro Rosso and an even better one to make it up to seventh – so being promoted to fifth was merely a bonus. However, his race came to an early end when he suffered an engine problem; how he fares at Red Bull next year will be an intriguing talking point.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams-Mercedes | G 4th: | R: 2nd | 9/10

Williams Racing

Williams Racing

Massa was rapid throughout parts of qualifying but ultimately came a little bit short when it mattered. He bolted off the line and almost claimed second – and did so when Rosberg struck problems. Extending his second stint was an inspired choice but Rosberg’s problems meant Hamilton was able to push and see off the threat from the Williams driver.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams-Mercedes | G: 3rd| R: 3rd | 8/10

Alarmingly the bodywork from his Williams made a bid for freedom in first practice – a result of the team trying a new method – but afterwards the FW36 was back to its usual pace. A clutch slip at the start – a similar issue to Monza – dropped him to eighth but staying out later than his rivals at his first stop allowed him to jump to fourth, which became third after Rosberg’s demise.

10 | Kamui Kobayashi | Caterham-Renault | G: 16th | R: Ret | 7/10

Kobayashi returned to Caterham after a two-race absence as the team came back to F1 thanks to some outside help. In the race he made progress at the start and was even briefly running ahead of Sutil, before he regressed to the mean and later retired after complaining of vibrations.

46 | Will Stevens | Caterham-Renault | G: 17th | R: 17th | 7/10

There’s thrown in at the deep end, and then there’s this. Having not tested the CT05 since July, Stevens – who briefly joined Marussia in October – fared well in qualifying, setting a time half a second down on Kobayashi. He stayed out of trouble in the race – though he legitimately gave Alonso a run for his money for a fleeting moment!

If you liked this post then share it with your friends on social media websites. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with the latest F1 news.