Reuters

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton ends season in style, Fernando Alonso bids F1 farewell

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Hamilton ends season in style, Alonso bids F1 farewell

25/11/2018 at 15:56Updated 25/11/2018 at 18:16

Champion Lewis Hamilton finished the season with a win for Mercedes at Yas Marina, as Fernando Alonso drove his last race in the sport.

WHERE THE RACE WAS WON

It was a risky one-stop strategy for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. After leading the race from the start he handed over the advantage to Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull when he went into the pits, then managed to recover it after everyone else had been through their tyre changes.

Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Ricciardo all then benefited from Valtteri Bottas's enforced pit stop with tyre trouble, bunching up behind the race leader - but intriguingly the Australian was lapping faster than Verstappen, who was lapping faster than Vettel, who was lapping faster than Hamilton.

But the champion was lapping just fast enough to maintain his advantage, and finish off another successful season with his 11th race win.

HAMILTON-WATCH

Four stars out of five. Did what was necessary, took a gamble on a brave tyre strategy, competed right to the end and completed his championship-winning year in style.

PIT RADIO EXCHANGE OF THE DAY

Nico Hulkenberg telling the Renault garage that he was OK following his dramatic somersault into the wall following a touch of contact with Romain Grosjean's Haas.

He described his situation thus: "I’m hanging like a cow and there’s fire.”

Such a relief to see him walking away unscathed, if a little shaken (understandably so).

MOVE OF THE RACE

Lovely stuff to see the battle for the points places.

BEST OVERTAKE

Perhaps "most significant overtake" would be a better phrase here. Impressive power from Vettel to take P2 from the Silver Arrow of Bottas, although it quickly became evident that the Finn was having car problems, which turned out to be a struggle with his tyres. The Red Bulls passed him in quick succession too, setting up an exciting finish.

TACTICAL MASTERSTROKE

It was dangerous but delightful - a one-stop strategy for Hamilton, switching under the virtual safety car to supersofts with 45 laps to go, ultimately proved the winning formula, despite looking very dodgy at points. He was stuck behind both Red Bulls at one point and expressed a concern that the tyres might not last till the end - but they did.

UNSUNG HERO

Farewell, Fernando Alonso. 17 years after his first F1 race, he leaves the sport with an incredible record, and ready to face a new set of challenges.

And as always, he deserves an honourable mention in the radio battle - always ready with a quick retort in his second language.

FACEPALM OF THE WEEKEND

Ferrari finished their season with a fizzle, with Kimi Raikkonen parking up on the home straight not long after the Hulkenberg-related safety car had gone back in.

Not a great way for team and driver to conclude their time together.

STAR-SPOTTING

Welcome to Abu Dhabi, bienvenida a Abu Dhabi, Will Smith.

There were an interesting array of performers in attendance, mind - from Slash...

...to Sam Smith to a Spice Girl.

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