Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has won the Abu Dhabi GP 2019 with overwhelming superiority this Sunday at the Yas Marina Circuit. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) have completed the podium. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) has finished fourth after a sensational comeback. Alex Albon (Red Bull) crossed the finish line behind him followed by a half-hearted Sebastian Vettel.
Carlos Sainz has just snatched the tenth place, which has gained him just enough points to be sixth in the championship. A thrilling ending to top off a sensational season for the Spaniard, after he overtook Renault´s Nico Hulkenberg in extremis on the final meters. The driver form Madrid has taken one point (96) more than Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) and four more than Albon.
The #44 of the Silver Arrows has sealed his twelfth victory in 21 races, a simply excellent campaign. The grand finale at the United Arab Emirates has been a true reflection of the season for Hamilton, who, together with his machine, has been overwhelmingly superior throughout.
The number #33 has been another of the day’s winners. Verstappen has taken the third place of the championship defeating Maranello’s young Monegasque in the process. The Dutch driver has also had an exceptional season managing to extract the most juice out of his RB15 every Sunday. Displaying a much more mature driving style, the Black Tulip has closed the year with a total of three wins and nine podiums.
As far as the constructor’s classification goes, Renault has retained its fifth-place despite its two drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg, having not made it into the top ten at the Abu Dhabi F1 2019 GP. The race in the Arabian country has also been the last for two of the drivers in the grid. First Hulkenberg, who has been left without a seat for 2020. He would have to wait for an opportunity to arise for the following season.
New regulations are coming into force in 2021, year which is said will mark a new era for the speciality. Many of the contracts held by the big names of F1 are also coming to an end before the beginning of that season foretelling a complete shake-up of the driver’s market.
The other driver to say goodbye has been Robert Kubica. Retired from the sport for eight years after suffering a terrible accident, the Polish driver has had a terrible season with Williams. The shortcomings of his FW42 have prevented him from enjoying a year that began as a dream and ended as a nightmare.
A clean start
Hamilton has asserted his superiority right from the start of the Abu Dhabi GP. The six-time world champion, who started from the pole, has not only maintained that position but has managed to escape right from the get-go. Behind Hamilton came Verstappen, fighting to defend his second place, followed by the Ferraris of Leclerc and Vettel, who did not take full advantage of their soft compounds, and finally by Albon in the fifth position.
Despite Verstappen’s best efforts, the young Monegasque soon managed to catch up and overtake Max for second. Hamilton was soon running solo and setting an unattainable rhythm for his rivals. Soon he had opened up a five-second advantage over Leclerc and an eleven-seconds one against Verstappen. Meanwhile, Sainz climbed to sixth place.
Aware of the superior strength of their German counterparts, both Ferraris made their first stop on the eleventh lap. Two laps after that Sainz went to pits but, because of a timing mistake in the part of McLaren, Sainz re-join the track in the middle of a traffic jam.
At the head of the race, Hamilton and Max stretched their first stint until laps 26 and 27 respectively. After their pit stops things remained the same, with the Briton leading away and Leclerc seven seconds behind. At this point, Max was almost twenty seconds away and Bottas had already climbed to third place, after a spectacular comeback.
From then on things would remain largely unchanged until the end. Only Verstappen’s clean but extreme overtaking manoeuvre brought some excitement to the last moments of the race. In the end, and overwhelmingly superior Hamilton said goodbye to the season by crossing the finish line a whole 16.72 seconds ahead of his closest rival.
Images of Abu Dhabi GP 2019: Mercedes.