Bottas Beats Hamilton To Abu Dhabi Victory
It’s a wrap: Valtteri Bottas owns Abu Dhabi. Bottas, who had beaten Hamilton to pole position by smashing the clock during the qualifier, drove a structured and impressive weekend, a strategy that ultimately saw him winning the 2017 Formula 1 season finale on Sunday.
It was a far cry from Brazil, when Bottas lost the race barely before it even had time to get started. This time round, he dominated from the word go and gave it his all to keep it there. By the time it was necessary to make his first pit stop of the race, he had already raged up a 2.5 seconds lead. Hamilton retaliated by staying out for another 3 laps, hoping to gain some ground and be able to re-join from the front, but he just couldn’t muster up enough of a pace to be able to do so.
Hamilton racked up a fastest lap record on lap number 21, but Bottas soon put the water to that particular fire as well, by managing an even faster lap number 24.
Hamilton did manage to pinch the 2.5 seconds lead by a small measure after his first tyre change. He got to the 1.1 second mark behind Bottas and stayed there for a total of 4 laps before running it a little too wide at turn number 17, losing valuable ground and time once more.
The rest of the race was more of the same, with Hamilton never managing to close in on Bottas to more than within a 1.5 seconds lead. He did experience temporary relief at the hair-pin at 49, but soon fell further behind once more as his car seemed to choke on the fumes of the leading car.
Talk about actually biting dust.
Vettel Saw It Coming
Sebastian Vettel’s words after qualifying that it was going to be tough to beat Mercedes at Abu Dhabi, was nothing short of prophetic. What had started out at the beginning of the season as a close spat between Vettel and Hamilton had ultimately been thwarted by mechanical as well as driver problems by the end of it.
Vettel crossed the finish line behind Bottas and Hamilton, with a struggling Kimi Raikkonen in tow.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen followed in 5th position.
One thing is for sure: it may not have been the action-packed season finale that we had all been hoping for, but 2018 is going to be the hype of F1 excitement if Ferrari and Red Bull can only match Mercedes in the mechanical development department.
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