Lewis Hamilton's chances of delivering a parting farewell gift to the McLaren team in the form of a 21st Grand Prix victory together before he moves to Mercedes crumbled on lap 19 of the 2012 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when the car abruptly died.

"I had a fuel pressure problem," he said after his premature exit from the race while comfortably in the lead ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Pastor Maldonado. "It was very sudden, I was just entering a corner and the car just died on me."

It had been the first time that Hamilton had led a race since September's Singapore race, which also ended in equally sudden fashion with a gear box failure just 22 laps in.

"I'm gutted," Hamilton admitted of this latest setback. "I'd had really good pace all weekend and I feel certain we could have won today ... I was cruising and still pulling away when I had my problem."

Hamilton did have an early scare in the race when he almost lost the lead to Kimi Raikkonen following his only mistake of the day.

"The only mistake I made all weekend was having a brief moment on lap two," he admitted. "My brakes weren't fully up to temperature and I locked up into turn 8. After that, however, everything was going really well - the car was a dream to drive."

Hamilton now has just two races remaining with McLaren, the team he's been with ever since his d?but in F1 back in 2007, and he is determined to finish on a high if he possibly can.

"We'll have more opportunities in Austin and Sao Paulo. I hope we can get back to the front - I'd love to take a win or two more for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes before the end of the season," he said.

Meanwhile his team mate Jenson Button had a solid drive to fourth place, just missing out on a podium position after a late overtaking move by Sebastian Vettel proved impossible for Button to ward off.

"For me, it was quite a fun race. I had a few good battles out there - with Mark, Sebastian and Pastor - and they were particularly good fun. But, unfortunately, I didn't have the pace in the car to take the fight to the leaders today," he said.

"At the end, I couldn't have kept Sebastian back," he added. "He was on newer options, so it was impossible to get the same amount of traction from my older primes as he was getting from his newer options."

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh praised Button's "gutsy and spirited race", while adding that the entire team was "absolutely gutted" for Hamilton.

But Whitmarsh also took the time to send his congratulations to race winner Kimi Raikkonen, a former McLaren driver who scored his first win for Lotus at Yas Marina on Sunday.

"To Kimi, who is of course an old friend of ours, having won nine grands prix for McLaren Mercedes during his time with us, I want to say 'Well done'. Today we saw a great drive by a great driver," he said.

"Congratulations to Kimi," contributed Button. "He's a man of few words, but he's all about racing. He deserved this victory today."