Bottas holds off Hamilton in final 2017 race

Valterri Bottas wins the final race of 2017 in Abu Dhabi ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as Felipe Massa finishes in the points in his last F1 race.

26/11/17

Qualifying Result

1.Bottas  2.Hamilton  3.Vettel  4.Ricciardo  5.Raikkonen  6.Verstappen  7.Hulkenberg  8.Perez  9.Ocon  10.Massa  11.Alonso  12.Sainz  13.Vandoorne  14.Magnussen  15.Stroll  16.Grosjean  17.Gasly  18.Wehrlein  19.Ericsson  20.Hartley*

Hartley* received a 10 place grid penalty for additional power-unit elements

Tyre Choice

Pascal Wehrlein, Marcus Ericsson and Brendon Hartley will start on the Supersoft tyre with everyone else on the Ultrasoft tyre.

Race

The lights go out and Valterri Bottas leads Lewis Hamilton as they approach turn 1. Sebastian Vettel follows behind locking up in 3rd with Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen in 4th and 5th. The drivers pile through turns 3 and 4 as a Haas driver has spun. It’s Kevin Magnussen. The Dane has spun ending up between turns 3 and 4. He continues on and the replay shows he spun on his own exiting turn 2. Lap 3, Bottas leads by 1.2 seconds ahead of Hamilton who is 1.4 ahead of Vettel.

Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg are under investigation. Perez complains saying that Hulkenberg overtook him off the track. The stewards have given Hulkenberg a 5 second time penalty for gaining an advantage. Lap 10, Valterri Bottas hasn’t been able to shake off Lewis Hamilton as the gap is now around 1.8 seconds. Sebastian Vettel is falling back, 3.1 seconds behind Hamilton in 3rd.

Lap 12, after constant attack, trial and error, Romain Grosjean finally overtakes Lance Stroll for 13th and into 11th place. Stroll pits after losing the position after a major flat-spot on his tyre became apparent. Lap 13, Stoffel Vandoorne has been complaining of “poor rear grip” so McLaren decide to pit the Belgian for a set of Supersoft tyres. Lap 15, Max Verstappen has been stuck behind Kimi Raikkonen and pits trying to work the undercut. Raikkonen pits on lap 16 and appears back ahead of Verstappen. Both went onto the Supersoft tyre.

Lap 17, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly spins out of turn 19. The Frenchman drops to 17th and continues on. Lap 18, Nico Hulkenberg serves his time penalty as he pits. It’s a slow stop by the Renault crew but he is still able to get out ahead of Sergio Perez. Lap 20, Daniel Ricciardo pits. He goes onto the Supersoft tyre and rejoins only to pull over at turn 3. It looks like a hydraulic failure and the Australian becomes the first retirement. Yellow flags are out as Sebastian Vettel pits on lap 21. The German goes onto the Supersoft tyre as the marshals retrieve the Red Bull car. Lap 22, race leader Valterri Bottas pits. The Finn goes onto the Supersoft tyre.

Former team-mates, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have been in close company all race. Massa, pits on lap 22 and goes onto the Supersoft tyre. Massa appears back ahead of Alonso who pitted a couple of laps ago. With Alonso’s tyres up to temperature and with the help of DRS, the McLaren overtakes the Williams down into turn 8 ans up into 11th. Lap 24, Lewis Hamilton pits. The Brit reappears on the Supersoft tyre and just behind  Valterri Bottas.

Lap 30, Valterri Bottas has been able to keep ahead of Lewis Hamilton with the gap now being less than a second. Although a lock-up for Hamilton into turn 17 increases the gap to around 2 seconds. Lap 32, Esteban Ocon and Carlos Sainz pit. Both go onto the Supersoft tyre but there’s a problem for Sainz. The front-left tyre hasn’t been put on properly and Sainz has to pull over at turn 3. That could be a critical mistake for Renault in the battle for 6th in the Championship.

Lap 40, Valterri Bottas is still holding off Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel is still holding 3rd place albeit 19 seconds behind. Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen round off the top 5. Nico Hulkenberg follows in 6th with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in 7th and 8th. With Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa rounding up the top 10. Stoffel Vandoorne has recovered well to now be running 12th with Pascal Wehrlein trying to overtake Kevin Magnussen for 13th.

Lap 50, into the dying stages, Valterri Bottas leads by 1.1 seconds with Sebastian Vettel 20.3 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton in 3rd. Lap 55, Bottas is en-route for his 3rd career win with Hamilton now slipping back to around 3 seconds. Bottas crosses the line as fireworks go off. Hamilton finishes 2nd with Vettel a distant 3rd. Both Bottas and Hamilton doing donuts for the crowd. Felipe Massa joins them in what is his final time in a F1 car before his retirement.

Race Result

1.Bottas  2.Hamilton  3.Vettel  4.Raikkonen  5.Verstappen  6.Hulkenberg  7.Perez  8.Ocon  9.Alonso  10.Massa  11.Grosjean  12.Vandoorne  13.Magnussen  14.Wehrlein  15.Hartley  16.Gasly  17.Ericsson  18.Stroll  DNF Sainz and Ricciardo.

Fans “Driver of the Day”: Valterri Bottas

My View

I am so glad Valterri Bottas was able to hold off Lewis Hamilton for the win. After losing the pole position he nicked off of Sebastian Vettel in Brazil, in which the German would go onto win, Bottas knew he had to win today. It was a disappointing race for Ferrari in general but Kimi Raikkonen was able to jump Daniel Ricciardo to grab 4th in the Drivers Championship. In contention for “Driver of the Day”, I thought Nico Hulkenberg did an excellent job to finish 6th and therefore help Renault overtake Toro Rosso in the Constructors Championship for 6th. Fernando Alonso finished 9th in the last race of the McLaren-Honda partnership before McLaren switch to Renault engines for 2018. I am also glad that Felipe Massa finished in the points on his last F1 race.

 

 

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