Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2017

Bottas wins processional Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix summary

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Valtteri Bottas ended the 2017 season with a win by holding his team mate back throughout the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Despite race-long attention from Lewis Hamilton, Bottas clung on to take his third victory, his first since the Austrian Grand Prix in July. Bottas kept his lead at the start and pitted one lap before his team mate. Hamilton pursued him closely after he rejoined the track, but an error at turn 17 let Bottas off the hook.

A slight error by Bottas at turn five with six laps to go brought Hamilton on to his tail again. But Bottas kept clear in the DRS zones and after the slow corners at the end of the lap Hamilton had fallen out of range again.

Mercedes rivals had nothing for them in the race. Sebastian Vettel dropped over 20 seconds behind them during the course of the grand prix. Daniel Ricciardo, the quicker of the two Red Bulls, retired with a hydraulic problem. That promoted Kimi Raikkonen to fourth, albeit over 21 seconds behind his team mate, and Max Verstappen fifth.

Nico Hulkenberg took a crucial sixth place for Renault which moves them up to sixth in the constructors’ championship ahead of Toro Rosso. He did it despite collecting a five-second time penalty for cutting the track to overtake Sergio Perez on the first lap of the race.

The Force India driver followed him home ahead of team mate Esteban Ocon, who ran a long first stint in an attempt to get ahead of his team mate. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa completed the top ten, the pair swapping placed after Massa came out of the pits ahead of the McLaren.

The race’s only other retirement was Carlos Sainz Jnr after Renault sent him out of the pits without securing his front-left wheel. He almost hit the barrier in the pit exit tunnel as he rejoined the circuit before pulling over to stop.

2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix reaction

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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50 comments on “Bottas wins processional Abu Dhabi Grand Prix”

  1. Errrmmm noteworthy moments from the race… Ooh, Bottas was much better than Hamilton at donuts!

    Also, thankfully Renault did at last manage to get 6th in the constructors (they’d have secured it ages ago if not for failures on Hulk’s car but at least they got it in the end… Looking exciting for next year with Hulk and Sainz as a line up, probably 3rd or 4th best on the grid).

    1. Did Bottas thank Hamilton for the win?

      1. He’s such a nice boy, I’m sure he did. :)

    2. yeah, lewis is pretty miserable at donuts

      1. Those were vegan donuts.

  2. I just don’t understand how hard can it be sometimes for the person responsible for controlling the traffic light system during the pit stops to wait before all the tyres are fully fitted.

    1. Just ask Massa at Singapoore 2008 for same thing. Really amazed by those kind of blunders.

      1. In Singapore 20008 there was a traffic light malfunction. If I remember correctly it was automated

    2. I think the speed pit stops are now expected to be done at, just makes errors like that inevitable. You obviously hope it does not happen to you. Surprising it does not happen more often when you think about it. In fact, from memory, is this not the 3rd time this has happen this season?

      1. @bonbonjai This was the 2nd time this season that it happened to any given driver. The first one happened to Grosjean in Hungary.

        1. Jere (@jerejj)
          Thanks for the correction. These pits crews are now that good we take it for granted that they will always get it spot on. Only when they don’t, do we remember it. Image the number of pits stop to change tyres are done every race, never mind during a season. Stunning.

    3. Raymond Porter
      26th November 2017, 18:55

      Nobody controls it; it’s automated. A button on the wheel nut gun is pressed as the mechanic withdraws it from the wheel. When all four are pressed, the green light goes on.

  3. Michael Brown (@)
    26th November 2017, 15:13

    Why have the stewards gone soft on illegal overtakes? If the 5-second penalty for what Hülkenberg was the standard in 2010, then Alonso could have done that move and won the championship, as long as he had a 5-second gap to Petrov. Back then, illegal overtakes warranted a drive-through penalty if the position wasn’t returned.

    But now? It’s actually advantageous to do an illegal overtake an create a 5-second or larger gap.

    1. @mbr-9 I would like to point out that Hulkenberg didn’t cut the track under normal circumstances. Going wide was not his fault, he was pushed wide by Perez.

      Of course, his move was still illegal and he deserved the penalty (He should have slowed down), but this was not one of your usual “corner cutting and overtaking” incidents in my opinion, since Hulkenberg went off-track because he didn’t have any other choice. So, I can see where the slightly lighter punishment came from.

      1. It was also the 2nd time that he performed an overtake on the same lap by fully leaving the circuit (the first being on the first corner, the second on turn 11). A 5 second penalty was too lenient and ended up not being a penalty at all…

        1. At the frst corner he was with the left tyres on the circuit, so it was legal.

        2. It was also the 2nd time that he performed an overtake on the same lap by fully leaving the circuit (the first being on the first corner, the second on turn 11)

          I request you to provide me with a photo of the turn 1 incident that you’ve mentioned, because it was never mentioned by anyone at all, and no one (not even the Force India camp) seemed to be complaining about it either.

          1. Raymond Porter
            26th November 2017, 19:00

            Did you not watch the race? Hulkenberg had all four wheels beyond the white line. But hey, it’s the first corner, it was by a whisker, there wasn’t really anywhere else he could be and there’s established precedent for relaxing that rule for the start, so not a big deal.

      2. Aaditya

        Hulkenberg is one of the most experienced drivers on the grid. He knows that if you pass a driver off track you have to hand the place back, you don’t need race stewards to tell you that. The legend of the driver I passed push me off track just does not wash. Driver, all of them, have to take some responsibility here if they want to be seen as gladiators to improve the show. He should have just handed the place back, keeping the nannies in racing control out of it.

        1. @bonbonjai

          The legend of the driver I passed push me off track just does not wash

          That’s correct to an extent, and that’s why he got the penalty, but it also means that Perez had to take some blame for pushing Hulk wide, right? As I said before, Hulk didn’t go off track in an attempt to overtake at all, he was pushed off-track by Perez who was off-track himself. This fact alone is sufficient to convince me that the stewards gave Hulk the right punishment.

          He should have just handed the place back

          Wow, mate. That’s the most unrealistic expectation I’ve ever seen anyone come up with recently. That’s never going to happen, especially if the driver in that moment thinks that the other party is at fault, which is exactly what happened with Hulk (It’s hard to think rationally in the heat of the moment). What you are asking for is something I have NEVER seen happen. No driver will ever do that on his own accord.

          1. Michael Brown (@)
            26th November 2017, 17:59

            @neutronstar Which is why the stewards need be the ones to ask the driver to hand the place back, and if they don’t, give them a penalty.

          2. @mbr-9

            I suppose that would make the stewarding more consistent, but would also make it completely black n’ white and people would still complain. Would you be supportive of a harsh penalty for Hulk if Perez made minor contact with him while they were off-track and but Hulk still overtook him there? I reckon people would call that overly harsh, as many did with Verstappen’s five-second penalty in USA, and Max’s off track excursion was not even remotely close to being as out of his control as Hulk’s was in this instance.

            I do think there is merit in assigning penalties according to the culprit’s circumstances (If that’s indeed what the stewards did here) because it’s more fair in my opinion.

          3. Michael Brown (@)
            26th November 2017, 19:08

            @neutronstar I think making contact is a different thing, so in that scenario, I’d go with no penalty.

            Crashes are a different story – if you have to cut the corner to avoid a crash in front of you, then that’s fine.

            In Hulkenberg’s case, both he and Perez were in control of their cars, and Hulkenberg was forced off the track because of Perez’s defending move (this is legal because driver’s don’t have to leave space in corners, so squeezing off the track is common). I just don’t think being forced off of the track because of that justifies the illegal overtake.

          4. Raymond Porter
            26th November 2017, 19:09

            To be fair, in the second incident, Hulkenberg not only went off track but also took the opportunity while he was at it to ignore the following corner. If he’d returned to the track without doing so I think it’s unlikely he would have kept the position, although he might have had a case to argue that rejoining the track at that point would have been unsafe.

          5. @mbr-9

            Yeah, but Perez didn’t stay on the track either did he? He’s the one who went off-track, which forced Hulkenberg wide too, if I remember correctly.

            I agree that Hulkenberg was wrong to overtake Perez the way he did (I mentioned this before), but I also think that given his circumstances, the penalty he got was sufficient.

        2. How did we get here? We are seriously debating penalties whether they are strict enough.
          F1 is becoming a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the world today. Too many rules takes the fun out of it.

          I miss the days when you only punished drivers when they really went too far. The days when a fight on track was possible without hundreds of journalists, tons of stewarts and drivers crying to «daddy» Charlie put out a unison cry for an investigation. I was lucky enough to experience those days. I hope those days will return, but I doubt it in this well-ordered sosiety of ours..

  4. Michael Brown (@)
    26th November 2017, 15:18

    Suggestions for changing the track:
    -Turn 5 (the chicane before the hairpin) should connect directly to the first long straight.
    -After turn 11 (the left hander at the end of the second long straight), bypass turns 12 and 13 with a short straight to turn 14.

    1. Full u turn and never go back…..

    2. Suggestions for changing the track:
      Somewhere else.

      1. David BR, I like your idea. I would only add that someone should bulldoze this track so that they couldn’t even be tempted to return.

  5. Congrats on the win to Bottas. He needed that and it sets up 2018 nicely- with a timely reminder to both his team mate and Vettel that they can’t just forget about him.

    On a different note- after what happened to Ricciardo today I hope we can hear an end to Max’s fans saying “points gap manipulated by reliabilty” because the past couple of races have been totten for RIC reliability wise.

    It’s the second season in a row that RIC has outscored Max and while he may not have VERS’ raw 1 lap pace- in my opinion, he is the more complete driver.

    1. Actually I don’t agree on your POV on VES. vs. RIC. If you’re both in P5/6 all the time and then drop out you loose a pathetic 10 points at best. When Verstappen had his failures it was often very likely he was going to finish top 3 or 4.

      1. To be fair some of VERS’ retirements were self inflicted. Let’s also not forget that some of the retirements occurred in the early phases of the race for VERS meaning it was simply premature to tell if he had the pace. And finally let us not forget that VERS directly impacted RIC’s points tally in Hungary. Take all these issues together and I think my point of view is justified. That said I am not a particular fan of either one of them so I’d like to think I don’t have bias towards either one of them.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          26th November 2017, 18:43

          I personally think Riciardo is overall the better of the 2. Just not in qualifying.
          Verstappen has had 7 retirements and Ricciardo has had just 1 less. 5 of Ricciardo’s retirements were related to reliability where as I think only 4 of Verstappen’s were. Although it is possible he will have had to retire in Austria even without Kvyat hitting him. But if we look at the points gap, it is 32. Verstappen has already had 2 race wins compared to Ricciardo’s 1 and the gap is still large. And according to Horner, Malaysia, Japan, USA and Mexico were the tracks where Red Bull were by far at their strongest. And Ricciardo had to retire in 2 of them. Because of this, I would say Verstappen’s luck has only been marginally worse than Ricciardo’s this year. And given the gap is this big, I don’t think I could say Verstappen has done better.
          But I won’t say Ricciardo certainly is the better driver as we have had such a lack of track time with these 2 drivers. There have only been 3 races where both the drivers have had a trouble free weekend. That is including reliability in the race or qualifying, getting involved in incidents or having grid penalties. As all this results in them being effectively in a different race.

          Only in Monaco, Malaysia and Japan did they both do a clean race weekend. So 17/20 races have been a bit difficult to compare them against eachother. The only area I think Verstappen certainly has been better is qualifying. IMO, we need far more evidence than we have to say Verstappen is overall better. Ricciardo seems to be able to keep out of trouble and is better at pulling of clean overtakes. He’s the best at overtaking out of any driver IMO. He’s also not got a single penalty point and it is just him and Bottas that have managed to avoid collecting any this year I think.

          Red Bull’s track time has been shocking though. I am certain they will have done by far the least laps out of any team during the races this year somehow.

          1. Thank you for articulating your argument very well. VERS is definitely more interesting with his gung ho no holds barred approach, but that gets him in tricky situations. RIC is more measured and that means he tangles with others less. I concur with the majority of what you say and hopefully next year both Bulls will be in the mix with minimal reliability issues. If the result is the same- ie VERS beaten for the 3rd season in a row I think a lot of quarters will need to revisit how these two drivers are viewed.

    2. It’s the second season in a row that RIC has outscored Max and while he may not have VERS’ raw 1 lap pace- in my opinion, he is the more complete driver.

      To be honest… I don’t think Verstappen is known for his ‘raw 1 lap pace’ . I actually think qualifying pace is still more of Ricciardo’s strength than Verstappen’s. Verstappen strength is his race pace and race craft.

      Overall, I rate both drivers really highly. I think Ricciardo has more mental composure and maturity, while Max has more raw talent. If I had to rate one driver over another though… it’s hard not to put Verstappen on top.

  6. Common theme from 2016 and 2017 Abu Dhabhi grand prix – Lewis drove deliberately slow in both the races.

    Get it??

    Nudge nudge wink wink

  7. Diva car sorted out! Looks like it, eventually.

  8. Well Mercedes finished the season in fine fashion. The positive energy going in the off season was executed in perfect fashion. Costructors Champion, Drivers Champion and Bottas the number two goes number one on Hamilton, perhaps the greatest of all drivers. Excited to see the 2018 racecars and wonder if any team can step up to the Mercedes Challenge.

    I doubt it.

  9. Fun fact: Hamiltnn has never beaten a team-mate in either qualifying or race in the same season after becoming world champion. 0-10.

    1. Anyone who says Hamilton isn’t gracious in victory, aren’t paying attention.

      Hopefully this wont go to Bottas head, like it did Rosberg ;)

    2. Does that stat include 2008?

  10. To give Bottas his due, he seemed completely in control of the race. Hamilton couldn’t get within DRS range in normal circumstances, and even when he did, Bottas made sure he was clean on the exits to stop Hamilton getting a run.

    Stretching out a 5 second gap over the last few laps seemed to be his way of getting that message across.

    Will be interesting to see if Bottas can find the same (relative) form after the winter break.

  11. Congrats to Keith on absolving another season at the helm here.

  12. Raikkonen mailed it in again. fine to have a weak second driver if you have a dominant car. But this is embarrassing. Ricciardo summed it up really.

  13. A lot of people complaining about the lack of overtaking but what we did see was some close wheel to wheel battles i.e. between Grosjean and Stroll, Massa and Alonso, Magnussen and Wehrlein. These days often races with a lot of overtaking its just motorway style overtakes with DRS. Often this is with cars starting out of position. I remember watching F1 in the early 2000s when cars would just follow each other 2-3 seconds apart. There were no engine penalties and cars most qualified in the order they would finish. I remember in the 90s when cars were so spread apart and unreliable there would be no cars running close to each other (even if there was overtaking the race director wouldnt show it just focussing on the leaders).

    F1 was often just start (often a crash, there seemed to be more first lap crashes as it was the best chance of making up places), replays of the start, a load of early retirements, pitstops, adbreaks, repeats of pitstops missed in the ad breaks, a botched overtaking attempt, more retirements, pitstops, more ad breaks, more retirements and then nothing for the 15 laps until Schumacher won.

    These stats give an idea of what things were like in the not too distant past.

  14. Paul Ortenburg
    27th November 2017, 2:49

    Renault also deserved to be higher than STR based on the fact that for 75% of the season they had only one Formula 1 driver.

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