Don't get me wrong there were some good races in 2014 and I'd go as far as saying one absolute classic (Canada) but the result of the world championship was essentially a foregone conclusion.
Hunt and Lauda in '76 had us on the edge of our chairs as the BBC brought all the drama of that Suzuka downpour into our considerably drier living rooms. And who can ever forget Carlos Reutemann's capitulation in the Las Vegas desert as Nelson Piquet stole the '81 crown right from under the Argentinian's acquiline nose? The brazilian bad boy repeated the feat two years later to break not only Alain Prost and Renault's hearts, but the those of the entire French nation.
And what about Prost's 1986 title where Piquet, Mansell and the Frenchman went into the Adelaide showdown all with a chance of taking the title? And let us not forget those immense Senna and Prost shootouts between 88 and 90. In more recent times Fernando Alonso's 2010 title disappeared behind the back wing of a stubborn Russian spolier allowing Sebastian Vettel through for his first title with Mark Webber also improbably in with a shout. 2008 was also a vintage year.
These were nail-biting seasons in which the world championship hung in the balance right down to the wire. All of which brings me to 2014.
I keep hearing that this year has been a fantastic, gripping season as Rosberg and Hamilton have fought tooth and nail for the titile. Really? Then I must have been watching a totally different season. I can't recall any race where they these two actually went head-to-head. Sure there where many occasions when they ran 1-2, but that's not the same as an out and out genuine duel for the win. And on the rare occasion the result was in doubt, it was only due to a mistake by Hamilton.
While Nico's qualifying speed was very impressive, his race pace was less so. Older heads will no doubt remember when Ayrton Senna bagged 13 from 16 poles in 1988, evidence to many of his superiority over Alain Prost. "The race starts on Sunday," used to smile Prost, apparently unconcerned with pole position stats. And the professor was right. Sunday was indeed a different ballgame as the Frenchman invariably stepped up the pace.
I mean did anyone out there seriously believe that Rosberg was ever a true contender for the 2014 crown? When Hamilton was in front he was always pulling away from his German rival and when behind he was always catching up to his teammate. Epic battles? Evenly-matched? Nein, non, no.
Take a look at the following hypothetical situation after 15 hypothetical Grands Prix:
Driver A: 15 wins = 375 pts
Driver B: 15 2nd places = 270 pts
In this hypothetical season, driver B is still in contention (more so with double points) for the championship even at this late stage, despite being beaten in every race of this hypothetical season. But you take my point. In a two horse race, the donkey will never finish lower than P2.
From the moment the two Mercedes lined up for the season opener in Melbourne, it was obvious that the Anglo-German squad had produced a machine that was going to conquer all before it in 2014. It was also evident very early on that the only way Nico Rosberg was ever going to beat Lewis Hamilton was either by fortune or failing that by force. Oh, there was a third option and that involved grabbing the lead at a street circuit like Monaco where passing is impossible...
On a clear, open circuit and when nudges and collisions had not hindered the British driver, it was game over. Rosberg was literally not at the races. This so-called battle was in no stretch of the imagination a Hunt v Lauda or a Senna v Prost. All things being equal and Hamilton was the winner hands down.
Thanks to the superiorty of Mercedes where second place was the lowest possible position either Rosberg or Hamilton could hope to finish and a contrived double-points system, Nico looked like he was hanging in there until the bitter end. But it was an illusion and nothing more. Battle? What battle? Hunt and Lauda was a battle, Senna an Prost was a war; Rosberg v Hamilton? A skirmish at best...
There was never the remotest possibility that Nico Rosberg would win the 2014 world championship. And nor is there any possibility that he will win the 2015 title. There is, however, a German driver who goes by the name of Nico who could genuinely challenge Hamilton in 2015, but unfortunately for F1 at least, he'll be driving a Force India in 2015...