Hamilton wins Formula One world title as rival Rosberg hits trouble
Willie Grace | 11/23/2014, 11:21 p.m. | Updated on 11/23/2014, 11:21 p.m.
(CNN) -- Lewis Hamilton is Mercedes' main man -- and the new Formula One world champion.
After a rollercoaster eight months of intense competition with his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, the Briton captured a second world title with victory at the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi.
The 29-year-old added the 2014 crown to the 2008 title he won with McLaren at the twilight season finale.
The hyped desert duel between Hamilton and Rosberg failed to materialize when the German's car lost power from its hybrid energy recovery system at the halfway stage of the race and his challenge fell away.
Mercedes told Rosberg to retire his car because of "too many problems" but he responded: "I would like to go to the end."
As his title rival and teenage friend had to swallow a bitter defeat, Hamilton, who had passed Rosberg for the lead at the start, sailed to the checkered flag, winning his 11th race of the season -- and with it a second world title.
"Woo Hoo! World champion, I can't believe it!" an ecstatic Hamilton cheered on the pit to car radio on his victory lap.
Keeping his swelling emotions under wraps, Hamilton did not take off his helmet as he hugged his family and girlfriend, American pop star Nicole Scherzinger, when he climbed out of the car.
"I'm a bit lost for words really," Hamilton beamed from the Abu Dhabi podium.
"This is the greatest day of my life," Hamilton beamed from the Abu Dhabi podium. "It's really due to the people around me. 2008 was a special time in my life but the feeling I have now is way, way past that.
"It means even more than the first one. It feels like it's the first time."
Before Hamilton joined the two Williams drivers of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who had finished second and third, on the podium, Rosberg also came to hug it out with Hamilton.
"He just came into the room and said 'you drove really well'" revealed Hamilton. "Nico put on an incredible fight throughout the year. He was a phenomenal competitor."
Rosberg had held the championship lead until the fifth race of the season in Spain where a fourth victory for his British rival saw him take over at the top of the standings.
It was a bittersweet homecoming for the two drivers at the next race in Monaco, the glamorous European principality where the pair both live in the same apartment building.
Rosberg was accused and cleared of blocking Hamilton during qualifying and he went on to celebrate a victory on the streets of Monte Carlo.
In Belgium, there was another flashpoint between the Mercedes teammates who have been friends and racing rivals since they were teenagers.
Rosberg collided with the rear of Hamilton's car while battling to regain the lead and the resulting damage to his car ultimately put the Briton out of the race.
From May to September, Rosberg held the championship lead but the pendulum swung back in Hamilton's favor as, reinvigorated by the Belgium bust-up, he motored to the checkered flag in Singapore.