Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has won the final race of the year, convincingly coming home well ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Lewis Hamilton has taken a crushing victory at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi to round out his 2019 campaign. The World Champion led from lights to flag to come home almost seventeen seconds clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. This victory means he is now on 84 Grand Prix wins, just seven behind the all time record set by Michael Schumacher.
The race itself was quite a pedestrian affair at the front, with Hamilton maintaining his lead from pole position while Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc fought over P2. Leclerc won the initial battle by snatching the position from Verstappen down the back straight, and held onto that lead until he pitted on Lap 12. The first 18 laps of the race were run without use of the DRS, as a technical issue prevented Race Control from activating it.
While Hamilton and Verstappen pitted just once each, Ferrari decided to use a two stop strategy, and this meant that Leclerc was resigned to finishing P3 on the road and 43 seconds behind the leader. However, Leclerc’s podium finish is in doubt, as he went into the race under investigation due to a fuel irregularity.
Valtteri Bottas recovered from his back of the grid start to finish in P4, having run a long first stint on the Mediums. He was quickly catching Leclerc towards the end of the race, but ultimately ran out of time to snatch a podium position away from the Ferrari driver.
Sebastian Vettel finished P5, having started the race on the Soft tyres. His first stop was quite slow, due to being double stacked behind Charles Leclerc and, making a second stop later in the race, reeled in Alex Albon to take P5 away from the Red Bull driver right at the end of the race.
Sergio Perez finished P7, stealing the position away from McLaren’s Lando Norris away on the final lap as Norris was consigned to P8. Daniil Kvyat took P9 for Toro Rosso, with Carlos Sainz taking P10 for McLaren. Sainz overtook Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg on the final lap, and this P10 finish gives Sainz the point he needs to finish P6 in the Driver’s Championship.
Daniel Ricciardo also managed to get ahead of Hulkenberg on the final lap, meaning the Renault drivers finished P11 and P12 as Hulkenberg was voted the fan’s Driver of the Day as a way of saying goodbye as he completes his last confirmed race in Formula 1.
Kimi Raikkonen finished P13 for Alfa Romeo, while Kevin Magnussen was P14 for Haas. Romain Grosjean was P15 in the second Haas, with Antonio Giovinazzi P16 in the second Alfa. George Russell rounded out his year by finishing P17 for Williams while Pierre Gasly was P18. The Toro Rosso driver was tapped by Lance Stroll at the first corner and damaged his front wing – this resulted in a lengthy pitstop for repairs at the end of the first lap. With no Safety Car intervention, Gasly was doomed to finish well down the order. He managed to get back ahead of Williams’ Robert Kubica; the Polish driver’s car was damaged in a clash with Antonio Giovinazzi after the Alfa driver’s pitstop.
Lance Stroll was the only retirement from the race, having been withdrawn by Racing Point due to the damage sustained in his opening lap clash with Gasly.