F1: Lewis Hamilton wins Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Fire sprinklers sizzled through the start-finish straight of the 5.554km Yas Marina Circuit and was followed by an amazing display of fireworks, of different hues and colours, that lit up the pitch-dark Sunday night sky.
And Lewis Hamilton, as is customary at the season-ending Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, celebrated by doing donuts, much to the delight of the packed main Grandstand.
The Briton, then parked up, stood on top of his Mercedes W10 car and patted it for a job well done. It had served him well, winning him a sixth world title this season. A little later, he took a selfie with the car, He duly gave it the perfect farewell, leading from lights to flag in the 55-lap race, for an utterly dominant victory in Abu Dhabi.
After finishing second to teammate Valtteri Bottas at the season-opener in Australia in March, Hamilton triumphed in Bahrain and China and followed it with a sequence of wins in Spain, Monaco, Canada and France.
He then on to win his home Grand Prix at Silverstone and then Hungary, Russia and Mexico.
This was also the 34-year-old’s fourth triumph with the Silver Arrows and his fifth overall in Abu Dhabi, making him the most successful driver in the UAE capital.
Hamilton’s first had come in 2011, with McLaren, while the others were in 2014, his first championship-winning year with Mercedes, then 2016, and last year.
Hamilton, who had also logged the fastest lap, completed the race with a time of 1:34:05.715 seconds, +16.772 seconds ahead of second-placed Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing.
Hamilton wrapped the Drivers’ Standings with 413 points.
Hamilton also put the lap record to shade by conjuring the fastest lap of 1:39.283 to eclipse the 1:40.279 seconds, set by Sebastian Vettel in 2009, when the four-time champion drove for Red Bull.
Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc failed in his bid to finish third in the standings after the Monegasque driver lost his interesting duel with Verstappen. The 22-year-old finished third in the race.
Prior to the race, Leclerc was 11 points adrift of Verstappen and the latter ended with 278 points. Leclerc finished on 264 points.
There was plenty of jostling for positions as the race played out but the top three eventually finished the way they had started.
Bottas, meanwhile came with the drive of the race, scything his way from 20th to finish fourth. The Finn had qualified second but the engine penalty saw him start from the back of the grid.
Vettel, who just fathered his third child, endured a bit of an attritional race and the Ferrari ended up fifth.
Verstappen’s teammate Alexander Albon was sixth followed by Mexican Sergio Perez in the Racing Point.
McLaren’s Lando Norris was eighth, while Daniil Kvyat was ninth for Toro Rosso. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz completed the top 10.
Nico Hulkenberg ended what could be his final race in Formula One with the German finishing 12th for Renault.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, who was involved in an incident at the first corner, had to retire after 45 laps.
The 2020 season begins in Australia in 105 days.