8 things to remember about the 2014 Formula One season

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates with his team after winning the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on Nov 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates with his team after winning the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on Nov 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

The Formula One season ended at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday as Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes won the race and earned the 2014 drivers' title. Here are the memorable highs and lows of the latest season of high-octane motorsport action:

1. Second world title for Lewis Hamilton

With his second F1 drivers' championship win, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton became Britain's fourth multiple champion - and first since Jackie Stewart in 1971. He also became Mercedes' first champion since Juan Manuel Fangio won back-to-back titles in 1954 and 1955. It was the icing on the cake for Mercedes, which also won their first constructors' titles.

2. Sebastian Vettel leaves Red Bull for Ferrari

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel announced his shock departure from Red Bull to replace two-time champion Fernando Alonso at Ferrari. The German has seen his success fade this season, finishing fifth on the drivers' standings. Alonso is poised to join McLaren next season, although the move has not been announced.

3. Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry

The intense rivalry between team-mates Hamilton and Nico Rosberg was arguably the defining story-line of the season. Tensions on-track began from Bahrain, carried on to Monaco and Hungary and spilled over in Belgium. In an attempt to take the lead, Rosberg inadvertently gave Hamilton's car a punctured tire, putting the Briton out of the race. Still, it ended amicably on Sunday, with Rosberg extending a congratulatory hug to his rival and Hamilton hailing his team-mate as a "phenomenal competitor".

4. Daniel Ricciardo's stellar season

A break-out season for the Australian, who outdid team-mate Sebastian Vettel in his first season with Red Bull. He finished the season behind only Hamilton and Rosberg, picking up three race wins (Canada, Hungary, Belgium) among eight podium finishes. The 25-year-old was also the only one to beat the Mercedes cars in a race.

5. Jules Bianchi in serious accident

The Frenchman was involved in a serious accident at the Japanese Grand Prix on Oct 5, slamming his Marussia car into a recovery vehicle. It left the 25-year-old with a serious head injury that required emergency surgery. It was the most serious injury in the sport since Ayrton Senna died in 1994. Bianchi is now out of an artificial coma and was recently flown to a French hospital from Japan.

6. Caterham and Marussia in trouble

Both Caterham and Marussia went into administration, unable to sustain the US$2 million (S$2.6 million) a week that is considered the minimum needed to keep an F1 team afloat these days. Given the high costs of grand prix racing, many predicted that these two teams may not be the last to go bust.

7. New but softer engines

Turbocharged engines returned for the first time since 1988, with last year's 2.4-litre V8s replaced by 1.6-litre V6s - a more fuel-efficient option. But their softer sound earned the ire of fans who preferred the old V8 screamers. This has led to some race promoters fearing ticket sales could be hurt by the change.

8. Double points for first and likely only time

This season marked the first time double points were on offer in the season-ending race, held in Abu Dhabi. With an unprecedented 50 points rewarded, it added drama and tension to the Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry. The controversial rule, however, does not look set to continue next season, as both drivers and fans have opposed the decision.

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