Hamilton wins Abu Dhabi FP to finish the season

Six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton wrapped up the Formula One season in style on Sunday by cruising unchallenged to a dominant triumph in Abu Dhabi in his 250th grand prix.

The 34-year-old Mercedes driver led every lap from pole position to checkered flag, banging in a fastest lap for good measure to emphasize his supremacy under the Yas Marina floodlights.

Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen was runner-up, 16.7 seconds behind the Briton, to cement third place in the championship.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third but in danger of disqualification for a fuel irregularity.

Valtteri Bottas finished fourth for Mercedes after starting last on the grid because of engine penalties, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel fifth.

“That was an absolute master class,” said Hamilton’s engineer over the radio, congratulating the Briton — who won his sixth title in Texas last month — on the cool-down lap. “You look like you didn’t break into a sweat.”

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“I can assure you, I am definitely sweating!” Hamilton responded.

His 84th career win, record fifth in Abu Dhabi and 11th of the season meant the Briton equalled his own Formula One record of 33 consecutive finishes in the points.

The 11 victories in a season matched his personal best for a campaign, achieved in 2014 and 2018, with a record points haul of 413. He is now only seven wins short of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91.

Mercedes had already won both championships for an unprecedented sixth season in a row.

“Even though we had the championship won, I just really wanted to keep my head down and see if we could learn and extract more from this beautiful car that’s a piece of art,” Hamilton said.

“I feel so happy with today, man.”

Hamilton gazed across to the two 22-year-olds completing the podium and looked forward to more battles.

“I really feel privileged to be in the period of time when they are here,” he said. “I hope it gets closer for us next year.” While Hamilton was out ahead, Verstappen and Leclerc engaged in a battle for second place.

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