Lewis Hamilton cruises unchall

Image via @F1

Lewis Hamilton cruises unchallenged to Abu Dhabi GP win

Lewis Hamilton put in a master class at the Abu Dhabi GP, taking the victory 17s ahead of Max Verstappen with P3’s Charles Leclerc under investigation.

Lewis Hamilton cruises unchall

Image via @F1

Lewis Hamilton proved why he’s the 2019 F1 World Champion, taking a dominant lights-to-flag victory in Abu Dhabi to end the season with an 11th win.

The British driver was in a league of his own around the Yas Marina circuit, never once relinquishing P1 as he handed Mercedes their sixth successive Abu Dhabi win.

Hamilton unchallenged, unstoppable, unbeatable

Starting from pole position, Hamilton led into the first corner, unchallenged by Max Verstappen, P2 on the grid, and Charles Leclerc, P3.

Unchallenged would be the word of the day for the Mercedes driver.

Such was his pace that he built up a lead of 13s over Leclerc, who had overtaken Verstappen for second, when those behind began to make their pit stops.

The second last driver to pit, Hamilton was 29s ahead of the chasing pack when he boxed on lap 27, swapping his medium Pirellis for the hard tyres. He pitted from P1 – and emerged in P1.

On a trouble-free evening in the desert, he stormed to his 11th win of the campaign, showing the world why he’s a six-time World Champion.

He also put in a late effort to take the fastest lap point, giving him the grand slam of pole, the win and the fastest lap.

Next generation battle for second

Verstappen had to settle for second place, unable to do anything about Hamilton. He did, however, have an entertaining evening with Leclerc.

The Ferrari driver started the race facing a post-race investigation after the FIA revealed there was a “significant difference” in the amount of fuel that Ferrari declared prior to the race to what was actually in his car.

Leclerc, though, raced like points were on the line, which they were after the stewards opted to only fine Ferrari.

He took second off Verstappen but had to pit earlier than the Dutchman. That meant Verstappen was able to put his fresher tyres to good use, passing Leclerc on lap 32.

He ducked down the inside to take second at Turn 8 before Leclerc tried to fight back through Turn 11. Instead, he bumped into the Red Bull and bounced out of contention.

Dropped by Verstappen, Ferrari decided to bring Leclerc in for a second pit stop but it was for naught. Verstappen finished runner-up to Hamilton with Leclerc P3.

The result meant the Red Bull driver secured third place in the Drivers’ standings.

Valtteri Bottas was fourth despite starting down in 20th place due to an engine penalty. He took the chequered flag ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Alexander Albon while Sergio Perez was P7.

McLaren and Renault deliver the fun

The four Renault-powered cars from McLaren and Renault supplied much of Sunday’s excitement as first Carlos Sainz hit his team-mate as he took a position off Lando Norris and then tussled with Daniel Ricciardo – but it was an illegal move.

Sainz overtook Ricciardo for position on lap 15 at Turn 5 but cut the corner and had to give it back. It wasn’t long, though, before he was back in front of the Renault.

Nico Hulkenberg, in his final race in Formula 1, joined the battle after his pit stop, using DRS to challenge Sainz, winning that battle.

The four ran one after the other before Renault pitted Ricciardo for a second time and McLaren brought Sainz in.

That led to a few very worrying laps for Sainz as he was stuck in 11th place, less than a second behind Hulkenberg but unable to find a way through.

He eventually did pass the retiring German on the final lap, taking 10th place in the race and sixth in the Drivers’ standings.

Norris was eighth with Daniil Kvyat P9.

Pierre Gasly’s dreams shattered by Stroll

Pierre Gasly went into Sunday’s race squabbling with Sainz over sixth place in the Drivers’ standings, the two tied on 95 points apiece.

Unfortunately for the Toro Rosso driver, his chances of retaining it were dealt a massive blow at the very first corner when he was give a whack by Lance Stroll, pushing him into Sergio Perez.

Gasly had to pit for a new front wing, his troubles compounded by an extremely slow change from his Toro Rosso mechanics.

He finished the grand prix down in 18th place, well outside the points, with only the retiring Robert Kubica behind him on the track.

Abu Dhabi GP result

1 Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
2 Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 16.772s
3 Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 43.435s
4 Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes – 44.379s
5 Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 64.357s
6 Alex Albon – Red Bull – 69.205s
7 Sergio Perez – Racing Point – 1 Lap
8 Lando Norris – McLaren – 1 Lap
9 Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1 Lap
10 Carlos Sainz – McLaren – 1 Lap
11 Daniel Ricciardo – Renault – 1 Lap
12 Nico Hulkenberg – Renault – 1 Lap
13 Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo Racing – 1 Lap
14 Kevin Magnussen – Haas – 1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean – Haas – 1 Lap
16 Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo Racing – 1 Lap
17 George Russell – Williams – 1 Lap
18 Pierre Gasly – Toro Rosso – 2 Laps
19 Robert Kubica – Williams – 2 Laps
20 Lance Stroll – Racing Point – DNF