Hamilton claims grand slam in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory pic: Mercedes Twitter

Lewis Hamilton dominated the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a lights to flag win to round out the 2019 season.

The Englishman was unchallenged throughout the race to win from pole position for the 50th time in his career.

It was a perfect performance from the six-time world champion who also claimed fastest lap to complete a grand slam; pole position, fastest lap, and leading every lap.

He was followed to the flag by Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, the Ferrari driver under a cloud owing to a ‘significant fuel discrepancy’ detected on the grid.

Hamilton held sway at the head of the field off the line, Verstappen dropping into second and Sebastian Vettel third.

Leclerc gained two places in the opening half of the lap, moving by Vettel and then Verstappen.

The Dutchman then fell into the hands of Vettel as the Red Bull struggled for pace on the opening lap.

Gasly was in the lane early following contact with a Racing Point at the opening corner, prompting a slow stop for a replacement nose.

Having started from last, Bottas moved quickly through the field to sit 14th by the time DRS should have been enabled, only for a ‘technical issue’ meaning it was not available to drivers.

Stroll took to the lane after six laps, complaining that his car was undriveable courtesy of the damage he sustained when tagging Gasly at the first corner.

Bottas continued moving forward, demoting Antonio Giovinazzi to 13th on Lap 6 as up the road Sergio Perez moved to 10th ahead of Kevin Magnussen.

The Haas fell prey to Bottas a lap later, the Mercedes driver swiftly taking 11th place at the end of the second back straight.

Out front, Hamilton was extending his advantage to the tune of half a second a lap, leaving him in a comfortable position in the race lead.

Perez became one of Bottas’ victims on Lap 12, the Racing Point falling to ninth amid a flurry of early stops.

Ferrari opted to double stack on Lap 13, Leclerc in first followed by Vettel who had a slow stop as a result of sticking left front and rear wheels.

Albon pitted from third on Lap 14, rejoining behind Vettel in seventh, with Hamilton, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, and Bottas ahead yet to stop.

DRS was finally enabled on Lap 18, Bottas immediately putting it to use again Hulkenberg to climb to fourth.

The Renault was hauled into the lane for his first stop at the end of the lap, releasing Vettel and Albon who’d been tucked up behind in what had been a four way scrap.

Verstappen stopped on Lap 26, a lap before Hamilton and four earlier than Bottas, the latter rejoining in sixth.

Following his stop, Verstappen complained of problems with the response of his Honda engine.

Despite his protestations he was still able to put a move on Leclerc to claim second on Lap 32, using George Russell to wrong foot the Ferrari to move through down the first of the two back straights.

Leclerc immediately attempted to battle back but, though he drew level, Verstappen positioned his car to the inside and held on to the position.

Ferrari stopped Leclerc again on Lap 39, the Monegasque driver holding a pit stop in his pocket over Albon as the Scuderia also boxed Vettel immediately behind.

The second stop was in reaction to the threat from Bottas, who swiftly moved through Albon as Leclerc rejoined up the road.

It saw Leclerc on a set of soft tyres, just over four second ahead of the charging Mercedes driver, covering off the position with a fresh set of tyres in the event of a Safety Car.

Also on a two stop strategy was Daniel Ricciardo, the Renault rejoining ahead of Romain Grosjean in 15th.

Contrasting strategies in the closing laps saw Bottas close on Leclerc only to run out of time to make a move with Vettel tailing home in fifth ahead of Albon.

Perez put a move on Norris on the final lap to claim seventh, with Daniil Kvyat taking ninth ahead of Carlos Sainz, 10th enough to secure sixth in the drivers’ championship for the Spaniard.

Just outside of the 10 were the two Renaults, Ricciardo ahead of Hulkenberg as the German dropped two spots on the final lap.

For race winner Hamilton the performance perfectly capped off his championship winning campaign, a season he ended with his highest points total and 11 race wins.

Results: Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Pos Num Driver Team Laps Time
1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 55 1:34:05.715
2 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA 55 +16.772s
3 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 55 +43.435s
4 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 55 +44.379s
5 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 55 +64.357s
6 23 Alexander Albon RED BULL RACING HONDA 55 +69.205s
7 11 Sergio Perez RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 54 +1 lap
8 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN RENAULT 54 +1 lap
9 26 Daniil Kvyat SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 54 +1 lap
10 55 Carlos Sainz MCLAREN RENAULT 54 +1 lap
11 3 Daniel Ricciardo RENAULT 54 +1 lap
12 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 54 +1 lap
13 7 Kimi Raikkonen ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 54 +1 lap
14 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 54 +1 lap
15 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 54 +1 lap
16 99 Antonio Giovinazzi ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 54 +1 lap
17 63 George Russell WILLIAMS MERCEDES 54 +1 lap
18 10 Pierre Gasly SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 53 +2 laps
19 88 Robert Kubica WILLIAMS MERCEDES 53 +2 laps