Lewis Hamilton wins incident-filled Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in F1 finale

Lewis Hamilton wins incident-filled Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in F1 finale
1 / 3
Lewis Hamilton celebrates with a trophy after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as second place Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel looks on. (Reuters)
Lewis Hamilton wins incident-filled Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in F1 finale
2 / 3
US actor Will Smith waves the checkered flag as Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton crosses the finish line during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit. (AFP)
Lewis Hamilton wins incident-filled Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in F1 finale
3 / 3
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leads at the first corner after the start during the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina racetrack in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. (AP)
Updated 25 November 2018

Lewis Hamilton wins incident-filled Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in F1 finale

Lewis Hamilton wins incident-filled Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in F1 finale

ABU DHABI: New five-time champion Lewis Hamilton claimed his 11th win of the season on Sunday when he guided his Mercedes around the Yas Marina Circuit for a well-judged triumph in an incident-filled season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who started at the front of the grid from an 83rd-career pole position, came home 2.5 seconds ahead of his main title rival four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
Hamilton’s victory completed a season of total dominance for the Englishman. 
“I am so happy right now,” he said, before praising Vettel. “I know next year he’s going to come back stronger. Whatever people say, we always do our best.”
Vettel responded generously.
“He deserves to be champion,” Vettel said. “It’s been a tough year and I tried until the last lap.”
The win came after a race that began with an horrific opening lap crash from which Nico Hulkenberg escaped unhurt, his blazing Renault car having barrel-rolled into the barriers after a clash with Haas driver Romain Grosjean.
Grosjean has a reputation as one of F1’s more reckless — or adventurous — drivers. He caused the crash by clipping the right rear tire of Hulkenberg’s car, sending it tipping upward, barreling over and sliding on its back. As some smoke billowed from the car, a fearful-sounding Hulkenberg urged his team to get him out fast.
“I’m hanging here like a cow,” he said. “There’s fire. There’s fire.”
A concerned Grosjean asked about Hulkenberg’s condition on his radio. Stewards took no action against Grosjean, deeming it a racing incident.
“I was very sorry for him, but there was nowhere I could go,” Grosjean said.
Carlos Sainz came home sixth for Renault ahead of Ferrari-bound Charles Leclerc of Sauber, Sergio Perez of Force India, Romain Grosjean, who had tangled with Hulkenberg on the opening lap, and his Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
Retirement-bound two-time champion Fernando Alonso could only manage an 11th place for McLaren in his 311th and farewell appearance. The Spaniard, who started 15th, was just not quick enough to get any more out of his car.
He did manage one last piece of radio magic, though, when an engineer in the closing laps said: “Go and get a point.”
Alonso replied: “I’ve already got 1,800.”
A single point would have taken him up to 1,900, but he could not overtake Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.
Alonso was not helped by a five-second time penalty for cutting a corner when he missed his braking point pushing while chasing the Dane.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to race in the same era as him,” Hamilton said. “The sport will miss him, we will miss him.”
Alonso has already confirmed he will use his retirement to pursue non-racing interests.
Meanwhile, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen finished third in the race ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo for a fifth straight podium.
Verstappen overtook Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas to finish fourth overall behind Kimi Raikkonen, who retired early into his final race for Ferrari.
Verstappen and Ricciardo made light work of overtaking Bottas, who finished fifth, raising questions again about the Finnish driver’s ability to withstand pressure in a season where he has not won.