No debate, Lewis Hamilton ends 2014 as a deserved world champion
To celebrate Sky Sports' 25th birthday this week, we’re looking back at some of the most memorable moments from the last quarter of a century. Here we take you back to 2014's season-ending Abu Dhabi GP and Martin Brundle's verdict on Lewis Hamilton's long-awaited second world title...
Last Updated: 21/04/16 9:56am
Lewis Hamilton described Sunday as the best day of his life, and why not?
After a season-long battle of wits and skills he was one hard contact or reliability issue away from absolute glory or miserable failure. He now becomes only the fourth British driver, out of 143 who've tried, to win multiple World Championships, joining an elite list along with Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Sir Jackie Stewart.
At 33 wins he is now fifth on the all-time list, with an impressive 11 in this season alone. Media talk now speculates about sports personality of the year in the UK and even suggests 'Sir Lewis Hamilton' by New Year.
No wonder he was patting and willing his car to the finish line whilst maintaining just enough pace to cover off the highly-impressive Felipe Massa in the Williams, who kept the mighty Mercs in view pretty much all race.
Hamilton deserved the World Championship, of that there can surely be no debate. His racecraft and speed, delivered virtually error-free all season, was mighty and he never gave up when he was repeatedly many points behind his team-mate. Instead, he simply dug in and believed in his skills and personal approach and qualities. Yes of course he had a dominant car, but Nico Rosberg summed it up perfectly when he magnanimously declared that the best man won.
I went to find Rosberg after the race so that I could personally tell him just how much I respected that he drove his car to the finish line despite so many technical problems. His team even offered by radio the chance to end the agony of falling back through the field and being lapped, but he soldiered on rather than parking and whinging.
He once again proved to be the master of qualifying, but after the race he openly recognised that he needs to find another personal gear on race day if he's going to beat Lewis next year. That process starts immediately in the post-race test in Abu Dhabi.
We've learned this year that here's a much more steely edge to Rosberg than his fresh-faced blonde locks suggest. He can be quite cunning, and clearly massively fast and consistent but can he ever match Hamilton's sheer naturally gifted race pace and killer instinct? Will he ever be as hungry and determined? We'll find out in 2015, and he'll need to raise his game because Lewis will be on fire now and full of confidence.
A word for Team Brackley in conjunction with Brixworth and Stuttgart. The Mercedes was probably the most dominant car of the past few decades. It wasn't the most reliable but the engine and chassis were a marriage of exquisite technical detail and beauty.
We only fleetingly saw just how good that car really could be if needed, such as after the Safety Cars in Bahrain and Singapore, and Rosberg effectively non-stopping in Russia as he drove back through the field. They won a record-breaking 16 races.
Two more outstanding stars of 2014 were Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas, both of them showing that they could have challenged for the world title in a Mercedes. Ricciardo continued until the final lap to make Vettel looked ordinary this season and it's no wonder Sebastian felt the time was right to high tail it to Ferrari. Red Bull have a mighty duo in Ricciardo and Kvyat for next season.
Despite a lacklustre year and no Mercedes engine, Red Bull still had the momentum and quality to finish second in the World Championship. Williams had the better all-round package and if Massa wasn't involved in so many scuffles in the first half of the season they may have even finished higher than third in the constructors'.
But Felipe very much played his part in the welcome revival of the great Williams team along with many others who helped steer them back on course. And Bottas is a class act with a very bright future.
Jenson Button finished the season on especially good form as McLaren improved their car relatively speaking too. He completed more race laps than any other driver, and his wheel-to-wheel action with, and subsequent beating of, Fernando Alonso in Abu Dhabi was skilful, classy, and personal.
After 15 years JB has had a very good innings with victories and a World Championship. He's successful, healthy, wealthy and with no doubt the world at his feet in areas outside of F1. But if he's not on the grid next year, then as I said in commentary, half of the drivers who are there wouldn't hold a candle to his speed and skill.
I won't go the sympathy route though because I don't believe in it and F1 is a brutal business. Jenson got into F1 because somebody else lost their ride, that's how it works. But he still has plenty to offer, although the quality of the new kids is very high as I've already mentioned.