Mercedes Lewis Hamilton wins the final race of 2018 in Abu Dhabi in dominant form ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as McLaren’s Fernando Alonso finishes in 11th in what is likely to be his final F1 race.
1.Hamilton 2.Bottas 3.Vettel 4.Raikkonen 5.Ricciardo 6.Verstappen 7.Grosjean 8.Leclerc 9.Ocon 10.Hulkenberg 11.Sainz 12.Ericsson 13.Magnussen 14.Perez 15.Alonso 16.Hartley 17.Gasly 18.Vandoorne 19.Sirotkin 20.Stroll
So it was an 83rd pole position for Lewis Hamilton who clinched the final pole position of 2018. It was also the last time Max Verstappen could have broken the record for youngest pole sitter. It’s also Valterri Bottas’s last chance to win this season or he’ll become the first Mercedes driver since Michael Schumacher in 2012 to not win a race. The battle for 3rd, 4th and 5th in the Drivers Championship between Kimi Raikkonen, Bottas and Verstappen. Lots to be decided in the final race of 2018!
The lights go out for the final time in 2018 and its a good start by the top 5 as they stay as they are. Max Verstappen has lost out and has dropped to 10th from 6th. Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean make contact at turn 9 and Hulkenberg is flipped over and lands up against the barrier. There is a small fire at the back of Renault but is quickly extinguished by the marshals. The marshals are able to flip the car back over to its normal position and Hulkenberg is able to get out of the car. The replay shows that Hulkenberg and Grosjean were battling with Hulkenberg going down the inside of the Frenchman at turn 8. Hulkenberg locks-up and runs wide which forces Grosjean wide as well. Grosjean takes the inside of turn 9 but is unsighted by Hulkenberg and the pair make contact.
The Safety Car is deployed with Lewis Hamilton ahead of Valterri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Esteban Ocon, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Racing resumes on lap 5 with Hamilton getting a fantastic restart in the lead. Lap 6, Verstappen finally overtakes Ocon for 8th as Leclerc overtakes Raikkonen. The Finn has a problem as on lap 7, he pulls up and stops on the pit-straight. He becomes the 2nd retirement of the race. The Virtual Safety Car is deployed. Hamilton pits and switches from the Hypersoft tyre to the Supersoft tyre.. Leclerc and Grosjean also make their first pit-stops. Hamilton drops to 5th with Bottas leading Vettel, Ricciardo and Verstappen. The VSC ends on lap 8 as the marshals are able to move Raikkonen’s Ferrari from the track.
Lap 12, Valterri Bottas leads by 1.7 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen are catching the top 2 in 3rd and 4th with Lewis Hamilton in 5th. Lap 14, Carlos Sainz overtakes Marcus Ericsson for 8th into turn 11. Lap 16, Vettel pits form 2nd and rejoins in 6th behind the Force India of Esteban Ocon. He is able to overtake the Frenchman into turn 8. It was a slow stop for the Ferrari crew. Lap 17, Bottas pits from 1st and rejoins in front of Vettel in 4th and on the Supersoft tyre. Lap 18, Verstappen pits from 2nd, rejoins on 5th and on the Supersoft tyre.
Lap 22, Daniel Ricciardo is yet to stop because he is on the Ultrasoft tyre. Rain in Abu Dhabi? Surely not but teams are warning their drivers that small droplets on rain are on the way. There was a 40% chance of rain before the race got started. Lap 24, the rain has arrived. Lap 25, Marcus Ericsson is going very slowly and pulls over at turn 10. He becomes the 3rd retirement of the race. Lap 27, Charles Leclerc overtakes Fernando Alonso for 9th into turn 8. Alonso fights back with the help of DRS but the Sauber driver retains the position. Lap 28, Alonso pits and switches from the Ultrasoft tyre to the Supersoft tyre.
Lap 31, Stoffel Vandoorne holds off Romain Grosjean and Esteban Ocon for 11th place. Great defending and attack from the Belgian driver. Lap 32, Vandoorne defends once again from Ocon into turn 11 but Ocon is able to overtake into turn 17. Lap 33, Grosjean is now able to overtake Vandoorne for 12th. Vandoorne is yet to pit in this race. Lap 34, Daniel Ricciardo pits from 1st and goes onto the Supersoft tyre. He rejoins in 5th. Lewis Hamilton retakes the lead ahead of Valterri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Ricciardo. Carlos Sainz, who is yet to pit, is in 6th and around 20 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc in 7th.
Lap 35, Sebastian Vettel attacks Valterri Bottas with Vettel overtaking Bottas into turn 11. A replay shows that Bottas locked-up into turn 5 which compromised his entry into turn 6 which allowed Vettel to catch-up. The Stewards have penalised Esteban Ocon by 5 seconds for going off track and gaining an advantage. Lap 37, Max Verstappen is now behind Bottas with Daniel Ricciardo now behind the pair and is ready to pounce. Lap 38, Verstappen overtakes Bottas for 3rd with the pair rubbing tyres at one stage. Lap 39, Ricciardo overtakes Bottas into turn 9. Bottas fights back but Ricciardo holds onto 4th place.
Lap 40, Carlos Sainz Jr has pitted and has rejoined in 6th and a couple of seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc in 7th. Lap 41, Valterri Bottas pits from 5th and goes onto a set of Ultrasoft tyre. He rejoins in 5th and 24 seconds behind Daniel Ricciardo in 4th. Lap 45, Ricciardo is just 1.5 seconds behind team-mate Max Verstappen. Lap 46, Esteban Ocon retires as there is some oil coming out of his Force India. He becomes the 4th retirement of race. Lap 48, Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso is now failing as there is smoke coming out of his car. Gasly pulls up at turn 14and becomes the 5th retirement of the race. Gasly’s retirement means that Kevin Magnussen has been promoted into 10th and Fernando Alonso into 11th.
Lap 52, McLaren tell Fernando Alonso to go and get Kevin Magnussen’s 10th place. They allow Alonso to turn the engine up to full performance in an attempt to catch Magnussen and to secure what is likely to be he final F1 point. Lap 54, Alonso gets a time penalty of 5 seconds of leaving the track and gaining an advantage. Lap 55, Lewis Hamilton wins the Abu Dhabi GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen. Hamilton and Vettel performs a couple of doughnuts for the crowd. Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso go side-by-side for most of the track before performing doughnuts on the start/finish straight.
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 55 Laps (11th win of the 2018 Season)
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +2.581s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +12.706s
- Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +15.379s
- Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +47.957s
- Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, +72.548s
- Charles Leclerc, Sauber, +90.789s
- Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, +91.275s
- Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1 Lap
- Kevin Magnussen, Haas, + 1 Lap
- Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1 Lap (Fans Driver of the Day)
- Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
- Lance Stroll, Williams, + 1 Lap
- Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 1 Lap
- Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 1 Lap
- Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, DNF
- Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, DNF
- Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, DNF
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, DNF
- Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, DNF