On the day that Pirelli’s contract extension until 2023 was announced, Lewis Hamilton claimed the final win of the 2018 season from pole with the predicted one-stop ultrasoft-supersoft strategy.
Hamilton made his first stop very early, under a virtual safety car, and then ran a long 48-lap supersoft stint to the finish.
Nonetheless, both Ferrari and Red Bull were in a strong contention despite starting off the front row of the grid, finishing the race in second and third respectively with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen. The Dutchman was the only driver from the top three teams to start the race on the hypersoft tyre, completing a 17-lap opening stint on this compound (helped by a safety car and virtual safety car).
As well as the Abu Dhabi winner’s trophy Hamilton claimed another prize today: before the start of the drivers’ parade, he was given the 2018 Pirelli Pole Position Award – a full-sized engraved race tyre – commemorating his 11 poles during the season.
Mario Isola: “While nearly everyone went for the expected one-stop strategy, it was an interesting race tactically, and I think everyone was surprised to see a few drops of rain halfway through the race – which came to nothing in the end. Lewis Hamilton went for a very early stop and then ran a long second stint on the supersoft, while Daniel Ricciardo in fourth, did the opposite: a long opening stint on the ultrasoft followed by a shorter second stint on the supersoft. In between, there was also Max Verstappen, who made up three places after starting on the hypersoft. Now, we immediately turn the page and concentrate on 2019 with the drivers sampling next year’s definitive tyres for the first time on Tuesday and Wednesday: they will also have the 2018 tyres available to make a comparison. Finally, this is also an appropriate moment to pay tribute to Fernando Alonso after an amazing Formula 1 career: we wish him the very best for the future.”