Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2018

Hamilton wins ahead of Vettel and Verstappen in Abu Dhabi finale

2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton capped his championship-winning season with his 11th victory of the year at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

The Mercedes driver made an early pit stop after a Safety Car and VSC period within the first few laps. That allowed Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo to take turns in the lead, but Hamilton returned to lead once each of those had made their pit stops.

A suspected brake problem kept Bottas from making it a one-two for the constructors’ championship. He was passed by Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull pair, and made an extra pit stop before finishing fifth.

Vettel was the only Ferrari driver home as Kimi Raikkonen retired early from his final start from the team with an apparent power unit problem.

Max Verstappen completed the podium. He jumped ahead of Ricciardo after pitting earlier than his team mate, having been the only driver in the top six to start on the hyper-soft tyres.

Carlos Sainz Jnr took sixth place for Renault but his team mate Nico Hulkenberg went out in a dramatic first-lap crash. He was flipped onto his roll hoop in a collision with Romain Grosjean, though the Haas driver was cleared of blame.

Sauber also only got one car home. Charles Leclerc finished seventh, having passed both Red Bulls at the start. Sergio Perez was eighth in the only Force India after Esteban Ocon dropped out late on.

Pierre Gasly also retired which promoted the Haas pair to the final points places. Fernando Alonso came 11th in his final race.

2018 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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63 comments on “Hamilton wins ahead of Vettel and Verstappen in Abu Dhabi finale”

  1. I really hope that the Vettel + Leclerc combination really puts the fear in Mercedes, because I don’t think I can stand another two or three seasons of watching Heikki Bottas hog the most desirable seat in F1 (Provided he doesn’t turn into Michael Schumacher overnight).

    1. I really hope that the Vettel + Leclerc combination really puts the fear in Mercedes

      @mashiat – only if Ferrari prioritize the WCC (and they should, IMHO) over the WDC.

    2. I like Seb and I hope that LeClerc will put the fear into him.
      Let’s have two number one drivers at Ferrari next year.

    3. Give leclerc some years. The kid still has a lot to learn. You don’t become a world champion by just driving a year in a car. I feel people are expecting a lot from him, but you can’t speed these things up. You need to drive, battle at the front and make mistakes with the all the pressure. It will be a transition year and depending which Bottas will show up next year and how the Honda will be, he could have a though time. I think he will be great though.

      1. Staggering donkey
        25th November 2018, 23:19

        Hamilton did….( become world champ by just driving a car for a year….)

    4. Heikki Bottas. That was cold.

  2. What happened to Valtteri? Three quarters of a minute behind his team mate in an identical car – NOT GOOD.

    1. So…anyone for fried Hulkenburg? Thankfully the fire was contained but this is the problem with the halo and the reason I don’t like it.

      1. That was a bad moment for sure.
        I would rather get hit on the head by a wheel and take my chances than be trapped – upside down – in a burning car.

        1. When is the last time you saw any serious fire in f1 not quickly contained? If you got hit in the head by an f1 wheel/tire you would not be getting out the car except on a stretcher. Remember massa got hit by a 2lb spring.

          1. I stick by what I said.
            My worst death fear is burning so I wouldn’t want to be the first that the Marshals didn’t get to in time.

      2. I don’t don’t think him been unable to get out was due to the Halo. I think it was just the angle the car was sitting at (Like with Wehrlein at Monaco last year) due to the back end been raised by the barrier & that even without the Halo he wouldn’t have been able to get out. If anything the halo kept the car up slightly higher than it would have without it & he’d have had less room to get out had the halo not been there.

        1. Halo didn’t have a scratch on it. It did nothing to protect Hulkenburg in this incident. It did prevent him getting out of the car. Consider Alonso in Melbourne a couple of years back – he was able to get out.

      3. aezy_doc, the thing is, you are automatically approaching the scenario with the assumption that Hulkenberg would have been able to get out without the halo being there – but is that necessarily a correct assumption to make?

        The gap between the sides of the cockpit and the front of the chassis is rather tight to begin with, and although drivers have sometimes been able to climb out through that gap, there have also been times when the driver has been trapped in the cockpit in that same scenario with a completely open cockpit.

        1. Doesn’t make it easier though as it clearly splices through the available space to get out.
          As much as halo may help deflect a head strike from a wheel, it also causes issues too. I’m with Brundle on this one. It makes driver extraction much harder and it has the potential to deflect smaller debris into the cockpit.

          1. But Brundle got hit in the head by a wheel, so that might be it talking nonsense

        2. As The Hulk himself addad, the Halo did not help. It was impossible for him te get out of the car. Hende the panix when the fire started. It was very lucky the fire stopped so soon.
          The halo will take some lives in time, i am afraid.
          Probably safe some.. is it a balance then?

          1. erikje, actually, that is not what Hulkenberg said when interviewed after the race about that incident – what he said was that he doesn’t know if the halo would have stopped him getting out of the car because he chose to wait for the marshals instead of trying to get out of the car by himself.

            He has said that he deliberately stayed in the car because he was badly disorientated by the crash – it is the first time that he has been in a crash where he ended upside down – and panicked because he was so confused about what to do in what is a very abnormal situation for most drivers.

            I would say that it is therefore questionable to confidently assert that “It was impossible for him to get out of the car”, as Hulkenberg has not made any definite claims to that end. From what he has said, it sounds as if the problem was not with the halo, but rather that Hulkenberg did not know what to do and panicked because he was confused about being in a completely alien situation (i.e. being upside down).

    2. Sorry, I put that in the wrong place.

  3. I think a bit of luck involved or strategy in avoiding traffic but Sainz had an impressive margin over the other slower teams.

  4. What on earth Hulkenberg was thinking there?
    He cut in front of Grosjean and should have left more room.

    Oh wait…

    1. @ioannisk

      And Ocon was right behind them, and Verstappen right behind Ocon… and then there was no penalty on top of it all.

  5. Botas should be embarrassed with how he performed this year. Being beaten by Max in inferior machinery is bad going when your team mate wins the title and your team the constructors title

    1. He had car problems today but overall he has underperformed I agree.
      Then again – he isn’t there to win.
      You can’t expect him to try hard when he is employed as a support act.

    2. @sibusisokolwapi Bottas is fast at times but aside from his win at Russia last year, I haven’t seen anything to say that he’s any good at wheel to wheel combat. His defence against Verstappen today was poor. He fought coming out of the chicane but his approach to the chicane was where the damage was done and where that battle was lost. I’ve barely seen such a bad racing line approaching a corner. Sure he had to defend the inside but once it was clear that Verstappen was committed to the outside, then he should have tried to move towards the racing line more to give himself a better line through the chicane. It’s certainly not the first time that he has looked easy to pass. He will have to improve this aspect of his racing if he plans on mounting a championship challenge, especially if we finally see 3 teams in a close fight next year

      1. @3dom How did he demonstrate a good ability to battle wheel to wheel in Russia? Even then, I think his performance in Russia is slightly overrated. He did extremely well in qualifying to put it on pole, but his pace in the race was once again uninspiring. Hamilton was able to keep within 1-2 seconds of him at all times, and that was despite carrying a blister. And once Hamilton got past, Bottas really wasn’t able to stay with him. His best races this season have been Bahrain, China, and Azerbaijan. The fact that they were all in the first four races of the season, when Hamilton was really underperforming, prompts the questions as to whether he was really that good, or it was just a case of Hamilton underperforming making him look better. Australia and Spain he was nowhere near.

        1. but aside from his win at Russia last year

          @mashiat I was referring to last year i.e. 2017, that’s the last time I can remember him defending reasonably well

  6. Hamilton brilliant today as he has been all year, topping 400 is insane. Feel like the criticism of Bottas is a little harsh, his season was over at halfway after some really bad luck in the first half. He will have to up his game next year though.

    Gutted Ricciardo didn’t make the podium, as Rosberg said on commentary he was ‘absolutely shafted’ by Red Bull on strategy. Hopefully Renault works out for him.

    Sad to see Alonso go, bad decisions outside the car cost him and the fans from seeing him fulfill his potential.

    Looking forward to next year now, Hamilton will take some stopping. Schumacher’s record is in sight!

    1. i cant be too harsh on bottas as he did have some rotten luck in the beginning of the season. but he definitely needs to up his game next year.
      i believe lewis new found form of not relaxing after wining the WDC has exactly to do with schumachers record. his motivation now is going after schumachers records.

    2. Big part of the strategy calls are made by the cockpit and the info the driver delivers.
      Ric stayed out way to long because he hinted that he could keep up. And expected the tires of HAM to drop off before.( his own words)
      If they stopped when the gap was about 20 seconds, he would have come out before or juist behind Verstappen and the outcome would have been different.
      It’s a pity

      1. Orange liar. The team comes up with the strategy, they don’t have those computer sims and dozens of people employed taking care of it for nothing, or just to go by a drivers call. RIC did say something about expectations regarding HAM, but he never said it would have been enough for the win and, he never said HE thought the degradation would have been more on HAMs car, no, he said WE, as in the team. The only times when a driver gets a significant say in when to come in, is in some exceptional circumstances, like when the conditions are on the threshold of dry/inters, inters/wets (and even then get overruled by the team many times) or when they take some damage the team are unaware off. Drivers get told what to do, even to the extreme that HAM was already coming in just to be told in the last fraction of a second to stay out, crossing the infield in the process in GER this year.

        This was a straightforward race: despite VER being helped by the 2 (V)SC periods, RIC had VER’s number in track position, pace, a 2+ sec gap at the time VER pitted, and the number of options in terms of strategy.
        Like you said, the only truthful apart of your comment, they could have simply done the same as they did with VER, pitting him in the L16-23 window. L23 was about the last lap in which RIC would have still gotten out in front of VER.
        A harder strategy for RIC, an option VER didn’t have at all bc he couldn’t qualify on ultra’s bc his tyre temp management wasn’t at RICs level, would have been to pit RIC in the L34-41 window and get him out on fresh HYPERS, 17-24 laps fresher and 2 compounds softer than VERs tyres. But like I said, this one would have been harder bc then he would have had to overtake on this track, which is notoriously hard to overtake on, everybody, including your object of devotion, VER, said beforehand and afterwards.

        But what did RB do? Get RIC in on L33, so 1 lap before the HYPER-window, and put him on SUPERS. Hahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahaah, the yoke, hahahahahahahah.
        So they came up with the ‘brilliant’ strategy to have RIC out on ULTRAS for 33 laps and 22 laps on the SUPERS, which were the race tyres, hahaahhahah, ‘brilliant’ indeed.
        Furhter more, it was known by everybody, the SUPERS would be able to even do the WHOLE race. And the ULTRAS had a predicted window of 17-25 laps. All known data provided by Pirelli, even explicitly mentioned and shown to the audience beforehand.
        But RBs strategy was to get VER ahead, the driver who’s staying, at the expense of RIC, the guy who’s leaving and therefore was getting lemons after the summer break, when he was still leading VER in the points standings despite already having more tech-DNFs than VER, wasn’t allowed at team briefings, and also isn’t allowed by them to do testing work for themselves and not for Renault. So they left RIC out there, wearing his ULTRAs off to the point of no return and just 1 lap short off doing a viable HYPER stint.
        They saved theirs and VERs marketable faces. VER, who never has beaten a teammate at this track in quali or race and couldn’t qualify on ULTRAs, versus RIC, who was never beaten at this track by a teammate, both in quali and race.
        Well done, hahahahahahahhahahahaa.

        Ziggooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  7. I expected a little more from Ricciardo. Seemed so fast, closed the gap within a few rounds, but then he just followed the train. Should have had more pace with those newer tyres for an overtake on Verstappen.

    1. yeah this race was a bit weird its like they all decided to follow the bottas train and were content until he made a mistake then they all woke up or it could be that they were just saving tyres

  8. Even though Max had engine problems at the start, was seriously held up by Bottas and had less quality time with the SS,
    Ricciardo still couldn’t finish in front of Max.
    Guess that it is wise that Ricciardo switches team, maybe a 100% Renault works better for him.
    It’s obvious he can’t keep up with Max.

    1. I’m guessing you have a bit of a thing for Max? ;)

      1. Not at all.
        End of the season balanced conclusion.
        Another Red Bull season would probably be embarassing for Dan.

        1. Well – we will see.
          So many variables in this specific situation that it’s nigh on impossible to predict next season.
          Fingers crossed for a good one :)

        2. LOL – I just read that back and realised that I am starting to sound like Sean Bratches …… Kill Me Now! :P

        3. TBF- RIC did get the better of Max in 2016 and 2017. I feel like some quarters have short memories.

        4. HAHAHAHA “not at all”

      2. @nullapax
        Don’t get fooled by that orange tool. I already schooled him and others in the “Ricciardo: We didn’t ..”, “Red Bull thought ..” and “Rate the race” – articles.

        @blazzz You can add 2018 also to that list. And it’s not about them having a short memory, it’s them having a selective memory and are delusional to begin with, hahahhhhah.

  9. I kinda disagree with Rosberg saying that Red Bull shafted Ricciardo on strategy. Pitting Max first was obviously the correct thing to do, and so was keeping Danny Ric out – but not for that long; that was one long stint.

    1. Plus there was the off-chance (OK, very off) that heavier rain could have forced everyone onto intermediates and Ricciardo would have won. He also did have some chance of catching and passing Verstappen, so difficult to say it was deliberate. For Red Bull, Ricciardo getting a podium would have just been a reminder to him of what he’s given up.

      1. I think that was exactly what they were going for, and it just didn’t work out. Perfectly normal rationale behind staying out for so long. Once it was obvious rain wouldn’t hit, they pitted him. Don’t think it was deliberate at all.

      2. david: and beaten Lewis in the rain?

      3. Hahahahahahaha, VER(and HAM)-FBoy.

        So in this delusional’s view a “very off”-chance gets priority above the certainty that RIC would keep being in front of VER hahahahahhaa. Sure, whatever you makes you fall asleep at night, hahahaha.

        “He also did have some chance of catching and passing Verstappen, so difficult to say it was deliberate.” – Why would you want to put RIC in the postion to HAVE to overtake his teammate who has been trailing him from Q2 onwards in the first place?

        “For Red Bull, Ricciardo getting a podium would have just been a reminder to him of what he’s given up” – Hahahahahahahah, talking about turnng the world upside down, just to defend your (2nd) object of devotion, hahahahahahahha.

    2. “I kinda disagree with Rosberg saying that Red Bull shafted Ricciardo on strategy.” – Obviously you disagree. It hasn’t anything to do with him being intelligent and neutral versus you, a well-known Max-FBoy.

      “Pitting Max first was obviously the correct thing to do, and so was keeping Danny Ric out – but not for that long; that was one long stint.” That’s exactly what made it a shafting, you orange-glassed ziggo-tool.

      Hahahahahhahahahahahhahhhahahha, ziggoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

      @pratyushp276

  10. Grosjean should’ve just backed off when he still had a chance to do so to avoid the contact.

    1. @jerejj so you’re saying cars aren’t supposed to go two wide in corners, and if they do, there is always fault given to whichever one doesn’t turn into the other?

      1. @neiana Not really my point. Yes, cars indeed are supposed to go two wide, but in that case, Grosjean had already left the track entirely with all four wheels, so, therefore, it would’ve been better for him to back off rather than attempt to go for a gap that was about to close. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the Stewards’ decision, but still, Grosjean had a slightly ‘better’ chance at avoiding the contact than Hulkenberg had.

  11. But one person who was shafted, however, was Leclerc. Fantastic pace from him in the initial part of the race (I think he was running P4 before the VSC), but that pit stop was totally unnecessary. I agree with the Channel 4 commentary team – Sauber shouldn’t have given up track position.

    1. Definitely. It’s one thing for a car from the top 3 teams giving up track position, knowing full well they can pass everyone else. But Sauber? That was one of the stupider decisions of the season.

    2. “I agree (..) Sauber shouldn’t have given up track position.” – Yet you’re convinced RB did the right thing doing exactly that with RIC.. Hahahahahahhahahahhahahahahhahahahhaha, ziggo.

      @pratyushp276

  12. Vettel rubbed tyres three times in the second half of the season and had his race destroyed three times.

    Verstappen touches tyres twice tonight. No damage to his car, to his opponent’s car, no-one’s race compromised.

    You need some luck sometimes.

  13. A beautiful and unforgettable moment at the end by Ham, Vet and Alo. That will be watched again and again for years.

    And all those saying ‘put anyone in the Mercedes and he will win’ just have a look at Bottas.

    Overall a memorable season finale and a great season almost perfect by Lewis Hamilton.

    1. Quite right.
      If “Anyone” can win in a Mercedes, then Mercedes would be charging Daddy Stroll millions to make his boy world champ.

  14. Heres to a much more competitive 2019!

    F1 can’t survive much longer with this Mercedes dominance.

  15. “what about Ocon”

    He had a DNF

    ah.. Karma

    1. Who was at fault in the Hulk and Grosjean incident?

  16. My end of season rankings as follows:
    20. Stroll
    19. Vandoorne
    18. Sirotkin
    17. Hartley
    16. Ericsson
    15. Grosjean
    14. Magnussen
    13. Bottas
    12. Ocon
    11. Alonso
    10. Sainz
    9. Gasly
    8. Perez
    7. Leclerc
    6. Hulkenberg
    5. Ricciardo
    4. Vettel
    3. Raikkonen
    2. Verstappen
    1. Hamilton

    Lets see how my rankings compare with others

  17. Looks like the article has a mistake, two drivers finished 7th?
    Carlos Sainz Jnr took seventh place….
    Charles Leclerc finished seventh…

  18. I couldn’t see Bottas in the post-race team photo. It doesn’t bode well if he skipped that does it?

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