Lewis Hamilton closed out the 2018 Formula 1 season with a convincing victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit, leading home title rival Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton was able to manage his tyres well after an early pit stop to secure victory, capping off his fifth drivers’ championship win in style as McLaren's Fernando Alonso signed off from his time in F1 with a spirited run to 11th place in Abu Dhabi.

Fernando Alonso - An F1 Career In Pictures

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Starting from pole, Hamilton managed to retain his advantage off the line, and pulled clear in the early part of the race despite a four-lap Safety Car period following a frightening roll for Nico Hulkenberg after contact with Romain Grosjean. Hulkenberg walked away from the crash shaken up but uninjured, and was quickly discharged by the medical staff.

Mercedes opted to bring Hamilton in for an early pit stop at the end of Lap 7 after a Virtual Safety Car period after an issue caused Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari to stop on the main straight. Hamilton was able to save time on the pit stop compared to the cars around him, but needed to make his tyres last to the end of the race.

Valtteri Bottas enjoyed nine laps in the lead of the race for Mercedes before pitting to cover off third-placed Vettel, who had stopped one lap earlier. Bottas was able to emerge ahead of Vettel, with both running clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who was net fourth and fighting back after dropping as low as 10th on the opening lap.

With the quartet all dropping comfortably behind Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo was able to pull into the lead of the race for Red Bull after completing a long first stint on the Ultrasoft tyres.

Ricciardo kept the six-second gap to Hamilton stable for much of his stint, only for a late push from the Mercedes driver to whittle the margin down to just three seconds, prompting Red Bull to bring the race leader in. Ricciardo came out of the pits in fifth place, but, armed with tyres some 16 laps fresher than the cars around him, was quickly able to put pressure on those ahead.

While Hamilton sat comfortably clear in the lead, teammate Bottas was beginning to struggle for pace in P2, allowing Vettel to sweep past on the run down to Turn 11. This dropped Bottas into the clutches of Verstappen who, after seeing the Mercedes miss the chicane once, finally barged his way through at the second chicane. Ricciardo followed his teammate past Bottas, who was brought into the pits by Mercedes soon after as a precaution following the contact with Verstappen. The Finn came back out in fifth place.

Despite having Vettel, Verstappen and Ricciardo all slowly catching on fresher tyres through the closing stages of the race – albeit stunted by a late yellow flag after an engine failure for Pierre Gasly – Hamilton was able to stay in control at the front of the pack, crossing the line to clinch his 11th win of the year as the Mercedes W09 car bowed out of F1 in style.

Vettel held on for second place for Ferrari ahead of Verstappen, who completed the podium for Red Bull. The result was also enough for him to leapfrog Bottas for fourth place in the final drivers’ championship standings as the Mercedes driver ended up fifth.

Daniel Ricciardo took fourth on his final appearance for Red Bull ahead of his move to Renault for 2019, narrowly missing out on a farewell podium with the team he has spent he last five seasons with.

Carlos Sainz Jr. ended the year as the midfield leader, making a long opening stint on the Ultrasoft tyre work perfectly to get the jump on the early-stopping Charles Leclerc andn grab sixth place in his final appearance for Renault.

Charles Leclerc held off Sergio Perez in the final few laps to finish seventh for Sauber, leaving the team just four points shy of Force India in the final constructors’ standings. It also ensured the team finished P8 in the teams’ table, ahead of Toro Rosso.

Haas ended its strongest season to date in F1 with a double-points finish, with Romain Grosjean in P9 and Kevin Magnussen finishing 10th.

Fernando Alonso’s glittering F1 career came to an end with an 11th-place finish for McLaren, with the Spaniard narrowly missing out on a farewell point. Alonso moved into contention for points after Gasly and Esteban Ocon both retired late on, and despite a request to pit for fresh tyres so he could try and set the fastest lap, was told to stay out. He later received a five-second penalty for cutting a corner, leaving him 17 seconds back from Magnussen at the line.

Brendon Hartley finished 12th for Toro Rosso after suffering damage on the opening lap and touching the wall on Lap 4, but was able to climb up the order through the race.

Lance Stroll took 13th ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne in P14 as they made their final appearances for Williams and McLaren respectively, while Sergey Sirotkin was the last classified finishers in 15th.

Besides Gasly, Ocon, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg, Marcus Ericsson was the only other retiree, reporting a loss of power just before half-distance.



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