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Lewis Hamilton ends 2018 F1 season with a win in Abu Dhabi

26 November 2018 - Autoblog

Lewis Hamilton ends 2018 F1 season with a win in Abu Dhabi

Hamilton becomes the first driver to score more than 400 points in a season

Five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton signed off on the Formula One season in style and a cloud of tire smoke on Sunday after a pole-to-flag victory in Abu Dhabi, his 11th win of the campaign. Ferrari's overall runner-up Sebastian Vettel finished second, and also set the fastest lap, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen third in a race that also saw a rare sprinkling of desert rain.

"I am so happy right now," said Hamilton after Hollywood actor Will Smith brought down the checkered flag at the floodlit Yas Marina circuit on the Mercedes driver's 73rd career win.

The 33-year-old Briton, who has won 51 of the 100 races in the V6 turbo hybrid era, became the first driver to score more than 400 points in a single season with a final tally of 408. Hamilton's victory also left him 18 wins away from Michael Schumacher's all-time record of 91 and he celebrated on the podium by stripping down to his waist and showing off his tattooed torso as the fizz was sprayed.

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, in his farewell race with McLaren, had hoped to sign off in the points but finished 11th and with his final tally at 1,899.

With both championships already won, Hamilton taking his in Mexico with two races to spare and Mercedes sealing their fifth successive constructors' and drivers' double in Brazil, Sunday's focus was on the race and those moving on, particularly Alonso. Hamilton, Vettel and the Spaniard – three great champions – spun their cars in a cloud of smoke at the end of their slowing down lap, before stepping out for hugs and words of mutual respect.

"Fernando is a true legend. It's been a privilege to race when he is racing," Hamilton said. "The sport will miss him and I will miss him from the sport."

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was another saying goodbye, to his Red Bull team before moving to Renault, and he finished fourth after leading for a long stint when Hamilton pitted early.

TOUGH YEAR
Hamilton's teammate and 2017 race winner Valtteri Bottas was fifth, after starting on the front row, and ended the season winless and fifth overall.

He and Verstappen banged wheels as they fought for position, forcing Bottas to make another pitstop for a suspected slow puncture.

"It's been a mentally pretty tough year so I need a break," said the Finn.

Compatriot Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, retired seven laps into his final race with Ferrari as his car cruised to a halt on the pit straight, triggering a virtual safety car and Hamilton's early stop. The 39-year-old, joining Sauber next season, still ended third overall in the championship, two points ahead of Verstappen.

McLaren-bound Carlos Sainz finished sixth in his last race for Renault ahead of Sauber's Charles Leclerc, who now heads to Ferrari, and Force India's Sergio Perez. The Haas pairing of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen took ninth and 10th.

The safety car was deployed at the end of the opening lap when Nico Hulkenberg's Renault was sent barrel-rolling several times before coming to rest upside down on the tire wall after a collision with Romain Grosjean's Haas.

"Get me out of this car. There's fire," the shaken German shouted over the radio. Hulkenberg remained inside as marshals doused flames at the rear, finally clambering out through the halo head protection device after the Renault was turned over.

FORMULA 1 2018 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX - RACE RESULT

144Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES551:39:40.38225
25Sebastian VettelFERRARI55+2.581s18
333Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER55+12.706s15
43Daniel RicciardoRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER55+15.379s12
577Valtteri BottasMERCEDES55+47.957s10
655Carlos SainzRENAULT55+72.548s8
716Charles LeclercSAUBER FERRARI55+90.789s6
811Sergio PerezFORCE INDIA MERCEDES55+91.275s4
98Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI54+1 lap2
1020Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI54+1 lap1
1114Fernando AlonsoMCLAREN RENAULT54+1 lap0
1228Brendon HartleySCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA54+1 lap0
1318Lance StrollWILLIAMS MERCEDES54+1 lap0
142Stoffel VandoorneMCLAREN RENAULT54+1 lap0
1535Sergey SirotkinWILLIAMS MERCEDES54+1 lap0
NC10Pierre GaslySCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA46DNF0
NC31Esteban OconFORCE INDIA MERCEDES44DNF0
NC9Marcus EricssonSAUBER FERRARI24DNF0
NC7Kimi RäikkönenFERRARI6DNF0
NC27Nico HulkenbergRENAULT0DNF0

Note - Fernando Alonso handed three five-second penalties for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. Esteban Ocon handed a five-second penalty for the same offence.

2018 Driver Standings

1Lewis HamiltonGBRMERCEDES408
2Sebastian VettelGERFERRARI320
3Kimi RäikkönenFINFERRARI251
4Max VerstappenNEDRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER249
5Valtteri BottasFINMERCEDES247
6Daniel RicciardoAUSRED BULL RACING TAG HEUER170
7Nico HulkenbergGERRENAULT69
8Sergio PerezMEXFORCE INDIA MERCEDES62
9Kevin MagnussenDENHAAS FERRARI56
10Carlos SainzESPRENAULT53
11Fernando AlonsoESPMCLAREN RENAULT50
12Esteban OconFRAFORCE INDIA MERCEDES49
13Charles LeclercMONSAUBER FERRARI39
14Romain GrosjeanFRAHAAS FERRARI37
15Pierre GaslyFRASCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA29
16Stoffel VandoorneBELMCLAREN RENAULT12
17Marcus EricssonSWESAUBER FERRARI9
18Lance StrollCANWILLIAMS MERCEDES6
19Brendon HartleyNZLSCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA4
20Sergey SirotkinRUSWILLIAMS MERCEDES1

2018 Constructor Standings

1MERCEDES655
2FERRARI571
3RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER419
4RENAULT122
5HAAS FERRARI93
6MCLAREN RENAULT62
7FORCE INDIA MERCEDES52
8SAUBER FERRARI48
9SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA33
10WILLIAMS MERCEDES7
EXFORCE INDIA SAHARA0

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