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By Chris Symeon, Motorsports Editor - Archive - Email
Looking back at the 2014 F1 season
(L-R) Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton, left, and Nico Rosberg put Mercedes in a league of its own this season.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Following 19 rounds during an eight-month period, the one thing that stands out in the 2014 Formula One season is the dominance of Mercedes with its drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

While Red Bull had been the dominant team in F1 the past four years, Mercedes was in a league of its own this season, thanks in part to the new technical regulations. The cars were equipped with a new power unit, which consisted of a 1.6-liter, V6 turbocharged engine along with an Energy Recovery System (ERS). Mercedes adapted to the regulations much better than its rivals, particularly Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. The Williams F1 team, which uses a Mercedes engine, had a much-improved season.

Mercedes won its first constructors' championship in F1, clinching the title with Hamilton's victory in the Oct. 12 inaugural Russian Grand Prix, as three races remained in the season. Hamilton claimed his second world championship, defeating his teammate and title rival Rosberg by 67 points.

The intense rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg throughout the season provided lots of drama and made for most of the headlines in F1, but there were other notable stories worth recalling.

MERCEDES' REIGN OF SUPREMACY

Mercedes had a banner year in winning its maiden constructors' title. The team set a record for most grand prix victories in a season with 16. Hamilton scored 11 wins compared to five for Rosberg.

Daniel Ricciardo, in his first season with Red Bull, was the only other driver who had wins this season -- three of them.

With victories in 16 of the 19 rounds, Mercedes' winning percentage of 84.2 for the season was fifth-highest all-time in F1. McLaren won 15 of 16 grand prix in 1988, setting the record for highest winning percentage of 93.8.

Mercedes also won a total of 18 poles this year (Rosberg had 11 compared to 7 for Hamilton), tying Red Bull's record for most poles in a season, set in 2011. Felipe Massa, driving for Williams this season after spending the past eight years with Ferrari, claimed the pole for the Austrian Grand Prix in June.

Mercedes ended the season with a record 701 points, which was 296 points more than its closest competitor, Red Bull.

"This is really something incredibly special, what this team has put together, and I think we've got great people in their right positions, and Nico and I will continue to push the team forward," Hamilton said. "It's been phenomenal this year. I think it's really important the steps we take moving forwards to continue improving, and I believe 100 percent the team will do that. I'm looking forward to battling with people for sure, but I do believe that we'll be there fighting with people hopefully for some time."

Following the conclusion of the 2013 season, Mercedes reshuffled its management team, as Ross Brawn stepped down as team principal and handed over his leadership to executive director (business) Toto Wolff and executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe. Then in April, Mercedes announced that its technical director, Bob Bell, would leave the team at season's end. Lowe is taking over Bell's duties.

HAMILTON VS. ROSBERG

Hamilton and Rosberg's tug of war for this year's F1 world championship was compared much to the fierce rivalry between McLaren teammates Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1988 and '89.

Rosberg began the season by winning in Australia, but Hamilton went on to score victories in the next four grand prix -- Malaysia, Bahrain, China and Spain. The two had a hard-fought battle in Bahrain, with Hamilton beating Rosberg to the line by just one second.

Tension between the two reached a boiling point for the Monaco Grand Prix in May and then the Belgian Grand Prix in August.

In the Belgian GP in Spa, Rosberg and Hamilton made contact while battling for the lead on the opening lap, with Hamilton suffering a punctured left-rear tire when Rosberg's front wing clipped it.

Hamilton then dealt with an ill-handling car before he was forced to retire with a handful of laps remaining in Belgium. He trailed Rosberg by 29 points after that race. But Hamilton rebounded nicely from there, winning the next five grand prix -- Italy, Singapore, Japan, Russia and United States. He took over the points lead in Singapore and kept it for the remainder of the season.

"Spa was a low moment," Hamilton said. "I came back to the next races with a slightly different approach, and I won't explain exactly what I did because I need to bring it to the next races next year, but I did tweak some of my approach throughout the weekend which helped me get those wins."

Rosberg snapped Hamilton's five-race winning streak in Brazil, and he kept his title hopes alive heading into the Nov. 23 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which for the first time in F1 history awarded double the amount of points. Rosberg came to Abu Dhabi 17 points behind.

Hamilton won in Abu Dhabi, while Rosberg, who had started on the pole, experienced a problem with his ERS early in the race, which led to a 14th- place finish.

"2014 has been an incredible year for me," Rosberg said. "I've been particularly inspired by the huge support from my fans around the world. It gave me extra strength yet again. I'll be back on the offensive next year."

The relationship between Hamilton and Rosberg this season ended on a positive note, as Rosberg congratulation Hamilton on his race victory and second world championship after the completion of the Abu Dhabi GP. Hamilton's first title occurred in 2008 when he drove for McLaren.

"We've been fighting all season, and there have been good moments and bad moments, but we've worked together professionally, I think, all year long to push this team, so the team has no problems," Hamilton said of his battle with Rosberg for the championship.

VETTEL'S WINLESS SEASON

One year ago, Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull matched Alberto Ascari's 60-year- old record of nine victories in a row and tied Michael Schumacher's 2004 season record of 13 wins. Vettel also won his fourth straight world championship, finishing the year 155 points ahead of second-place Fernando Alonso from Ferrari.

But Vettel's season this year went in the opposite direction, as he failed to win a grand prix and appeared on the podium just four times. He finished fifth in the championship standings, while his teammate, Ricciardo, placed third. Ricciardo finished ahead of Vettel in 13 grand prix this season.

In one of the biggest driver changes in F1 history, Vettel is moving over to Ferrari where he is replacing Alonso for the 2015 season. It's widely rumored that Alonso will return to McLaren.

Vettel is already working on the upcoming season with his new team, as he spent time at Ferrari's facilities in Maranello, Italy this past weekend.

"The possibility to drive the car and get to know the team was a unique experience," Vettel said. "Obviously, it's a very different color for me, everybody is dressed in red, everything is red, but it's really something special, and I'm very much looking forward to the challenge that we took on for the next years."

Vettel spent the past six seasons with Red Bull.

A YEAR OF CHANGES AT FERRARI

Ferrari has been the most successful constructor in F1, but the Italian team endured one of its worst seasons ever.

That prompted a lot of changes at Ferrari throughout the year, most notably Vettel joining the team and Alonso departing.

Last week, Ferrari announced that Maurizio Arrivabene replaced Marco Mattiacci as team principal. In April, Stefano Domenicali stepped down as team principal, with Mattiacci taking over the position. Then in September, Luca di Montezemolo resigned as Ferrari chairman, while Sergio Marchionne moved into that role.

Ferrari ended the season fourth in the constructors' championship and failed to win a race this year. It was the first time the team was winless in a season since 1993.

Alonso concluded his last season with Ferrari sixth in the drivers' standings, and Raikkonen, in his first season back with the team, placed 12th.

BIANCHI'S HORRIFYING CRASH IN JAPAN

The 2014 F1 season had many exciting moments but a sad one as well. Marussia driver Jules Bianchi was involved in a serious accident in the closing laps of the Oct. 5 Japanese Grand Prix. Heavy rain associated from Typhoon Phanfone had an effect on the race. Bianchi slid off course and collided with a recovery vehicle that was removing Adrian Sutil's Sauber car after Sutil went off course and crashed into the barrier.

Bianchi, a 25-year-old Frenchman, suffered a severe head injury. He remains in critical but stable condition. Last month, Bianchi was taken out of an artificial coma and transported from Japan to a French hospital.

In Monaco, Bianchi finished ninth to give Marussia its first points since entering F1 competition in 2010.

FINANCIAL TROUBLES FOR TWO F1 TEAMS

Two teams -- Caterham and Marussia -- faced financial issues during the season, which led to both organizations missing the grand prix in the United States and Brazil. Those two grand prix featured just an 18-car field, the smallest grid since 2005.

Caterham returned to competition in Abu Dhabi, with Kamui Kobayashi and Will Stevens on the grid. Stevens made his F1 debut, as he replaced Marcus Ericsson, who had already departed the team.

Marussia has ceased its operations and is currently selling its assets.