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Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix 2018 Results: Lewis Hamilton Wins in Season Finale

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2018

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 25: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes WO9 on track during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 25, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton wrapped up a memorable 2018 Formula One season with a victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Mercedes man, already confirmed as the world champion ahead of the race, started in pole position and was in total control throughout the contest.

Further back, there was an intriguing battle for the minor podium spots, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's Mac Verstappen taking those, respectively. In his final race in the sport, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso finished in 11th.

Ahead of the race start, Will Smith was a guest in the Mercedes garage, and he had some fun with the world champion:

Mercedes-AMG F1 @MercedesAMGF1

โ€œWill, Iโ€™ve got to race! Seriously!!โ€ ๐Ÿ˜‚ #AbuDhabiGP ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช @F1 https://t.co/cf1lBiseHW

There were also a few words for Alonso at the start of his final Formula 1 outing:

McLaren @McLarenF1

Zak: โ€œGo get โ€˜em champ. Weโ€™re all here cheering for you.โ€ Fernando: โ€œThanks guys. As always, really proud of you.โ€ #AbuDhabiGP https://t.co/yw8eO7cwiF

The start of the race initially appeared to an uneventful one, as all the leaders got away cleanly with Hamilton maintaining first place.ย 

However, further back, Nico Hulkenberg was involved in a spectacular crash, as his Renault flipped over a couple of times and ended up propped against the barriers upside down.

Unsurprisingly, the safety car came out quickly, and while Hulkenberg confirmed he was fine, there was some concern as the vehicle caught alight:

Formula 1 @F1

RADIO: "Nico, are you ok?" HUL: "Yeah - but I'm hanging here like a cow... get me out of this car!" #AbuDhabiGP ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช #F1 https://t.co/tDNTvGFAJQ

In the end, the car was turned over, and Hulkenberg was freed as the race got underway again. It didn't last long for Kimi Raikkonen, though, as his final race for Ferrari ended with him parked up on the main straight with a loss of power.

As the grand prix continued, there was an interesting sight on the weather radar, as rain was anticipated at the circuit despite Abu Dhabi's reputation for punishing heat. The F1 Twitter account couldn't resist a pun with another high-profile guest in attendance:

Formula 1 @F1

Any @gunsnroses fans hoping for November Rain at the post-race concert? Might be a few hours' early ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜‰ #AbuDhabiGP #F1 ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช @Slash https://t.co/7pKaVSOlBQ

The heavens didn't open, though, and it meant there was no need for intermediate tyres to come out. At the front of the race, it was also bad news for Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who had decided not to pit earlier on.

When he did eventually go into the pits, the track was clear for Hamilton again, with team-mate Bottas tucked in behind him in second spot and 21 laps to go.

The race threatened to come alive as Ricciardo's pitstop put him on the quickest tyres of the leaders, and he quickly made ground back towards the front. Bottas, having been overtaken by Vettel, then had some engine difficulty, pushing him back down to sixth.

Luke Smith summed up how much faster Ricciardo was to the rest of the field at this point:

Luke Smith @LukeSmithF1

Ricciardo just took 2.6 seconds out of Hamilton on that lap, gap down to 13.8s. 20 laps to go... can he do it!? #F1 #AbuDhabiGP

Alonso, meanwhile, was looking for a way to make his mark late in the race:

Luke Smith @LukeSmithF1

Alonso: "I have 1,800 points!"

However, any chance of a frantic finish to the season disappeared quickly, as the drivers ahead of Ricciardo found extra pace in the closing stages. It felt fitting that Hamilton, in a season he has dominated, crossed the finish line under no real pressure.

The victory was Hamilton's 11th of the year, which equals his best haul from 2014. There's plenty that can happen ahead of next season, although it's tough to see anyone rivalling the five-time champion in 2019 on this evidence.

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