Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the final Formula One race of the season in Abu Dhabi. (Reuters)
ABU DHABI – Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton wrapped up the Formula One season in style on Sunday by cruising unchallenged to a dominant victory in Abu Dhabi in his 250th grand prix.
The 34-year-old Mercedes driver led every lap from pole position to chequered flag, banging in a fastest lap for good measure to emphasise his supremacy under the Yas Marina floodlights.
Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen was runner-up, 16.7 seconds behind the Briton, to cement third place in the championship.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third after a stewards’ enquiry into a fuel irregularity that could have led to his disqualification. Ferrari were fined 50 000 euros for the breach.
Valtteri Bottas finished fourth for Mercedes after starting last on the grid due to engine penalties, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel fifth.
“That was an absolute master class,” said Hamilton’s engineer over the radio, congratulating the Briton – who won his sixth title in Texas last month – on the cool-down lap. “You look like you didn’t break into a sweat.”
“I can assure you, I am definitely sweating!” Hamilton responded.
His 84th career victory, record fifth in Abu Dhabi and 11th of the season meant the Briton equalled his own Formula One record of 33 consecutive finishes in the points.
The 11 wins in a season matched his personal best for a campaign, achieved in 2014 and 2018, with a record points haul of 413. He is now only seven wins short of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91.
Mercedes had already won both championships for an unprecedented sixth season in a row.
“Even though we had the championship won, I just really wanted to keep my head down and see if we could learn and extract more from this beautiful car that’s a piece of art,” said Hamilton.
“I feel so happy with today, man.” (Reuters)