Hamilton cruises to Abu Dhabi winposted in F125 | 11 | 2018

    LEWIS HAMILTON DOMINATED the Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi to end his title-winning season by clinching his 11th grand prix victory of the year. It was also the 73rd F1 win of his career. (Related: Hamilton wins as leader is spun out)

    Staring from pole position, Hamilton was never threatened and cruised to victory ahead of the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen’s Red Bull. Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished fifth, behind the fourth-placed Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo. (Related: Hamilton world champ as Verstappen wins race)

    The race started with a dramatic first-lap crash for Nico Hulkenberg. The Force India driver attacked the Haas of Romain Grosjean into the left-hander at Turn 9. But the Frenchman hung on around the outside as he was forced to the edge of the track. (Related: Raikkonen wins USGP as Hamilton forced to wait)

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    Hulkenberg then turned in to the apex of the right-hander which immediately followed and was hit by Grosjean's front-left. The impact pitched the Renault into a barrel roll, and Huldenberg’s car finally came to a rest upside down against the outside barrier. The Renault briefly caught fire, and the unhurt Hulkenberg had to wait for trackside staff to arrive and reposition the car before he could extract himself.

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    When the safety car left the track at the end of the fourth lap, Hamilton nailed the restart and led second-placed Bottas by more than a second as the Mercedes duo crossed the line. On lap seven, Hamilton surprised the field by pitting for his one and only pitstop under a virtual safety car caused by the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen stopping on the start-finish straight.

    While Bottas and Vettel stayed out, only fourth-placed Charles Leclerc and seventh-place man Grosjean following Hamilton into the pits. Verstappen, meanwhile, tried to make his hypersofts last as long as possible.

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    Nine laps after Hamilton pitted, Bottas stopped form fresh tyres but emerged nine second behind his team-mate. The Finn then lost second place to Vettel on lap 35 when his car suffered braking problems. Three laps later, Verstappen also eased passed the ailing Mercedes, followed a lap later by Ricciardo.

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    Bottas’ day was finally wrecked when his team chose to pit him for fresh tyres after spotting a possible problem after the Verstappen contact. By finishing third in the race, the Dutchman inched passed Bottas to finish fourth in the drivers' championship.

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    Sixth place on-track went to the Renault of Carlos Sainz, ahead of Leclerc's Sauber. Sergio Perez brought his Force India home in eighth, ahead of the Haas duo of Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

    On what is likely to be his F1 finale, Fernando Alonso finished outside the top 10, bringing his McLaren home 11th.

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

    1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 55 laps


    2. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari + 2.581s


    3. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing + 12.706s


    4. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing + 15.379s


    5. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport + 47.957s


    6. Carlos Sainz Jr.  ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team + 90.789s


    7. Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team + 91.275s


    8. Sergio Perez MEX Racing Point Force India F1 Team


    9. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team + 1 lap

    
10. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team + 1 lap


    11. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team + 1 lap


    12. Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 1 lap 


    13. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing + 1 lap 


    14. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team + 1 lap 


    15. Sergey Sirotkin RUS Williams Martini Racing + 1 lap 


    Did not finish:

    Pierre Gasly FRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 46 laps


    Esteban Ocon FRA Racing Point Force India F1 Team 44 laps


    Marcus Ericsson SWE Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team 24 laps

    
Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari 6 laps


    Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team 0 laps

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    Related: Scot Sandy Mitchell bags third in Euro GT3 Silver Cup

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest  news by following us on twitter.com/Scotcars

    Jim McGill

    Photographs copyright of Mercedes-Benz AMG F1

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