ABU DHABI GP – Lewis Hamilton caps of sixth title with a grand slam victory ahead of Max Verstappen

Testing & Race Reports

Lewis Hamilton has finished the season by a dominant victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The six-time champion put in an excellent race to build a sixteen-second lead to maintain Mercedes 100% record in the UAE in the turbo-hybrid era.

Hamilton who hasn’t won a race since before the summer drove a brilliant race to deliver a win from pole position. The Englishman led from the start and then sailed off into the sunset to deliver a dominate evening and extend his championship lead by eighty seconds.

Hamilton’s dominance over the weekend allowed him to secure a sixth career Grand Slam, Yas Island once again proving to be a stronghold for Mercedes as it has done at any point of the hybrid engine era, with Hamilton untouchable when it mattered all weekend.

Verstappen delivered an elect race himself, after losing out to Charles Leclerc at the start. The Red Bull driver ran long into the race and that proved key in him getting passed Leclerc, with a bold overtake into Turn Eight and secure second.

Hamilton said, “I’m proud, definitely, but super grateful for this incredible team and all the people at Mercedes who have continued to push this year – and who would’ve thought at the end of the year we had the strength and we’ve learned and tried to extract more out of this beautiful car.”

Verstappen added, “There were a few little things [over team radio] it wouldn’t have made any difference, we had to do things differently to Ferrari, our pace was decent, but Lewis was too quick. To be P3 in the championship was a nice ending.”

Leclerc “I’ve learned a huge amount thanks to Seb, it’s been a great year a realisation of the dream since I was child to be with Ferrari and in Formula 1 and it’s up to me to get better and give them the success they deserve.”

However, Leclerc could lose third because of a post-race investigation for an alleged fuel discrepancy on his Ferrari. Leclerc managed to hold of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in fourth, it was a good drive for the Finn who started from the back.

As Verstappen passed, Leclerc tried to go late on the brakes around the outside at the end of the straight but was able to hold him off. That then allowed the Dutchman to follow Hamilton into the sunset a take second by twenty-six seconds.

It was an interesting battle between Red Bull and Ferrari, Leclerc tried to undercut Verstappen on lap twelve. But the Dutchman emerged ahead of him. Leclerc made a second stop after regaining the position on lap thirty, but Verstappen retook the position.

An extremely good race from Bottas could see him take third as Leclerc went into the race with an investigation over him for a “significant” pre-race fuel declaration discrepancy.

What was more impressive was most of Bottas’s progress was made without DRS, a technical issue means it was not enabled unit a third of the way through the race.

Both Hamilton and Verstappen ran extremely long on their medium tyres, with Verstappen stopping on lap 25 and Hamilton coming in a lap later. Mercedes clearly had the better pace, as Bottas worked his way to fourth.

Sebastian Vettel made a late passed on Alex Albon for fifth place, but it proved a disappointing race to cap a difficult season for the four-time world champion.

Sergio Perez followed Bottas’s approach, the Racing Point driver started tenth but the decision to stop late in the race allowed him to finish seventh. The Mexican started tenth but over seventeen laps charge through in the closing laps and get past McLaren’s Lando Norris on the last lap of the race.

Daniil Kvyat was ninth which allowed his Toro Rosso team to finish ahead of the two Renaults. But it wasn’t enough to stop the French manufacturer from securing fifth in the constructors’ championship.

Sainz, who made a late second stop for tyres, did salvage tenth place on the final lap from Nico Hulkenberg with the extra point meaning he did pip Pierre Gasly and Albon to sixth in the Drivers’ Championship. Hulkenberg was eleventh ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourteenth ahead of both Haas’s, Kevin Magnussen ahead of Romain Grosjean. The second Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi was sixteenth, ahead of George Russell, Pierre Gasly and Robert Kubica.

The only retirement was Lance Stroll, the Racing Point driver retired on lap forty-five.

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Jack Fielding

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.