Bottas fends off Hamilton to win finaleposted in F126 | 11 | 2017

    VALTTERI BOTTAS LED home a Mercedes 1-2 — the team’s fourth of the season — in Abu Dhabi to seal his third grand prix win of the year and secure third in the championship behind his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton. (Related: Hamilton — A horrible way to win the world title)

    In what was a poor, unexciting race — to put it mildly — Bottas led from pole position and was only headed during the round of pitstops. And though Hamilton appeared to put pressure on him over the closing laps, the Finn comfortably held on to cross the line 3.899secs ahead of the newly-crowned four-time world champ.

    “There was a lot of pressure from Lewis from behind throughout the entire race. I knew that one proper mistake could have ruined it,” Bottas said. “I had to keep my head down and go lap by lap.

    “I couldn’t be happier to end the season like this. Of course, it would have been nice to get the second place in the championship, but Sebastian had a good weekend as well.


    “Looking at the overall season, I need to perform better; but I’m very pleased with how the end of the season has been going for me. I’m really happy to be part of the team that won the constructors’ championship.

    “Mercedes has given me the opportunity to win a few races and claim a few pole positions, so I’m a really proud team member. However, I was hoping for an overall better result in the drivers’ point.

    “I’ve learned a lot this season, so now I’m really looking forward to next year. This weekend shows that I can perform, I can be on pole and win races. So now I need to try and do it more often next year.”


    And team-mate Hamilton admitted he did the best he could throughout the race to get ahead of his Mercedes team-mate.

    “That was a great race, a great battle at the end of the season,” the Brit stated. “I did the best I could, but Valtteri did a great job – very clean and no mistakes. This is one of the harder tracks to overtake; you need to be 1.4 seconds faster than the car in front to overtake.

    “I had a lot of pace in the second stint, but as soon as I got into that window of about 1.2 seconds, I was done. But it was neat that you could push all the way on the tyre, it didn’t seem to drop off that much.

    “It’s really great for Valtteri to have this win; this is a real boost for him to go into the winter with. Now I’m looking forward to some time to sit down with my family and just reminisce about the whole year.


    “It’s been such a strong year, the team have been phenomenal all year long. I’m so grateful for everyone’s hard work back at the factory and for all the support from Mercedes.”

    Behind the two Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel ran a lonely third, comfortably ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn finished 26s behind the German, and just 0.8s ahead of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull in fifth.

    Aussie Daniel Ricciardo has been on course to finish fourth, but he was forced to retire his Red Bull after the car suffered hydraulic problems shortly before the halfway point of the race.


    Nico Hulkenberg secured sixth place in the constructors' championship for Renault after he finished sixth in the race. But the German was surrounded by controversy after he left the track to overtake the Force India of Sergio Perez on the opening lap.

    But rather than order him to hand the place back to the Mexican, the stewards dithered, allowing Hulkenberg to rapidly extend his advantage. By the time they handed him a 5s penalty, he had comfortably built enough of an advantage to negate it.


    There wasn’t the same element of good fortune for his new team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. The Spaniard was forced to retire for the fourth time in six races after his pitcher failed to attach the front-left tyre properly at his pitstop.

    Frustratingly, Sainz had been on course to leapfrog Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa into ninth place by running long before pitting.


    And while Perez finished seventh, 6.8s clear of his Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso signed off the McLaren-Honda partnership with ninth place. It was the team’s third consecutive points finish.

    The final points position went to the Williams of Felipe Massa. The Brazilian, completing his 269th and final grand prix, marked his send-off with a few doughnuts after the chequered flag.

    F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Yas Marina Circuit — Result:

    1. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 55 laps, 1hr 34m 14.063s

    2. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +03.899s

    3. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari +19.330s

    4. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari +45.386s

    5. Max Verstappen NED Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer +46.269s

    6. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport F1 +1m 25.713s

    7. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India-Mercedes +1m 32.062s

    8. Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India-Mercedes +1m 38.911s

    9. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda +1 lap

    10. Felipe Massa BRA Williams Martini Racing-Mercedes +1 lap

    11. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas-Ferrari +1 lap

    12. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren-Honda +1 lap

    13. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas-Ferrari +1 lap

    14. Pascal Wehrlein GER Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap

    15. Brendon Hartley NZL Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap

    16.Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap

    17. Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap

    18. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing-Mercedes +1 lap


    Carlos Sainz Jr ESP Renault Sport F1

    Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer

    Related: Paul di Resta completes first LMP2 test

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    Jim McGill


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