Bottas signs off Formula 1 season with victory at Abu Dhabi

Valtteri Bottas held off his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to win the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina.

Bottas retained the lead from pole at the start and though he lost it briefly when he pitted first, he resisted the pressure from Hamilton to secure his third win of the season.

World champion Hamilton crossed the line 3.8 seconds adrift, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel completing the podium in third.

Once Bottas got through Turn 1 in the lead, he quickly opened up a one-second lead over his team-mate before gradually building it up to two seconds before the stops.

He was the first of the Mercedes drivers to pit, swapping the ultra-softs for super-softs and rejoining in second place.

Hamilton stayed out for three further laps, clocking the fastest lap in the process, but couldn’t make up enough ground and rejoined behind Bottas.

The world champion attacked his team-mate, briefly getting within DRS range, but locked up at Turn 17, running off track before rejoining.

Hamilton kept up the pressure and even got within 0.5 seconds after Bottas had a lock-up of his own, but his team-mate responded by putting the hammer down and pulling away.

The result was Mercedes’ third one-two of the season. The perfect sign off to a successful, winning season.

Vettel had a quiet race in a lonely third place ahead of Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was on course to finish fourth, but pulled off track and retired the car with a hydraulic problem shortly before the halfway point.

His team-mate Max Verstappen finished fifth, just 0.8 seconds behind Raikkonen with Nico Hulkenberg sixth to secure sixth place in the constructors’ championship for Renault.

Hulkenberg escaped with a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage when battling Sergio Perez on the first lap.

By the time Hulkenberg took the penalty at his pitstop, he had comfortably built enough of an advantage to negate it.

His team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr retired for the fourth time in six races after the team did not attach the front-left tyre properly at his pitstop.

But for the incident, Sainz had been on course to leapfrog Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa into ninth place by running long before pitting.

Perez finished seventh, 6.8s clear of Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Alonso signed off the McLaren-Honda partnership with ninth place, securing the team’s third consecutive points finish.

Massa completed his 269th and final Grand Prix in the points in 10th and celebrated with a few doughnuts after the chequered flag.

He had been ahead of Alonso in the first stint but the McLaren passed the later-stopping Williams on its out-lap.

Romain Grosjean was involved in the race’s most entertaining battle, squabbling with Lance Stroll over P13 in the first stint and eventually coming out on top after multiple passes and repasses.

The Haas driver finished P11, ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne, with Kevin Magnussen recovering from a first lap spin that dropped him to the back of the field to finish P13.

Stroll ended up making three pitstops on a day everyone else stopped once and fell to last.

And so ends Formula 1 2017. Well done to Valtteri Bottas in winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. That victory will boost his confidence over the winter break, ready to mount a challenge for next season.

Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes on winning the titles. Better luck next time Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. Fingers crossed next season the racing will be exciting and competitive.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race results:
1    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    55    1h34m14.063s
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    55    3.899s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    55    19.330s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    55    45.386s
5    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    55    46.269s
6    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    55    1m25.713s
7    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    55    1m32.062s
8    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    55    1m38.911s
9    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    54    1 Lap
10    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    54    1 Lap
11    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    54    1 Lap
12    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    54    1 Lap
13    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    54    1 Lap
14    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    54    1 Lap
15    Brendon Hartley    Toro Rosso-Renault    54    1 Lap
16    Pierre Gasly    Toro Rosso-Renault    54    1 Lap
17    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    54    1 Lap
18    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    54    1 Lap
–    Carlos Sainz    Renault    31    Wheel
–    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    20    Hydraulics

Final drivers’ standings:
1    Lewis Hamilton    363
2    Sebastian Vettel    317
3    Valtteri Bottas    305
4    Kimi Raikkonen    205
5    Daniel Ricciardo    200
6    Max Verstappen    168
7    Sergio Perez    100
8    Esteban Ocon    87
9    Carlos Sainz    54
10    Nico Hulkenberg    43
11    Felipe Massa    43
12    Lance Stroll    40
13    Romain Grosjean    28
14    Kevin Magnussen    19
15    Fernando Alonso    17
16    Stoffel Vandoorne    13
17    Jolyon Palmer    8
18    Pascal Wehrlein    5
19    Daniil Kvyat    5
20    Marcus Ericsson    0
21    Pierre Gasly    0
22    Antonio Giovinazzi    0
23    Brendon Hartley    0

Final constructors’ standings:
1    Mercedes    668
2    Ferrari    522
3    Red Bull-Renault    368
4    Force India-Mercedes    187
5    Williams-Mercedes    83
6    Renault    57
7    Toro Rosso-Renault    53
8    Haas-Ferrari    47
9    McLaren-Honda    30
10    Sauber-Ferrari    5

Bottas grabs Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pole from Hamilton

Valtteri Bottas scored his fourth career pole position, beating his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the top spot at the Yas Marina circuit.

It seems Hamilton was the favourite for the top spot after leading the way throughout free practice, and was fastest in Q2 as well, but Bottas was fractionally quicker than Hamilton in Q1 and got back ahead during the first runs in Q3, taking provisional pole with a one minute, 36.231 seconds lap.

That proved enough for top spot when neither Mercedes driver found time on their second runs, Hamilton falling short by 0.172 seconds.

Sebastian Vettel was third fastest in the best of the Ferraris, improving to a one minute, 36.777 seconds best on his final Q3 run but ending up almost four tenths down on the Mercedes pair.

Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was provisionally fourth quickest until a last-gasp effort from Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull displaced Raikkonen from the second row by just 0.026 seconds.

Max Verstappen rounded out the top six, 0.353 seconds down on Raikkonen.

Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault was best of the rest in seventh, less than a tenth clear of Sergio Perez, who in turn was only 0.023 seconds clear of team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Ocon was compromised by battling for track position with Bottas on their final Q3 out-lap.

Felipe Massa’s Williams completed the top ten, 0.153s further back after only completing one run in Q3.

Massa was one of only six drivers to find time on his second run in Q2, which proved enough to bump his old Ferrari colleague Fernando Alonso out of the top ten by 0.071 seconds.

Carlos Sainz Jr was another of those to find time after a “poor out-lap” ruined his first run. He got his Renault up to P12 ahead of the second McLaren-Honda of Stoffel Vandoorne, despite suffering a problem with his engine at the last corner.

Kevin Magnussen was P14 for Haas, almost half a second adrift of Vandoorne but well clear of Lance Stroll, who could not lap faster than one minute, 39.6 seconds however hard he tried.

Stroll at least made Q2 for the eighth time this season, his passage from Q1 coming at the expense of Romain Grosjean, whose Haas missed the cut by just 0.013 seconds as Stroll pulled the first of those one minute, 39.6 seconds laps out of the bag at the end.

“Oh God that was everything!” said Stroll over the radio upon learning he’d made the top 15.

Pierre Gasly put the best of the Toro Rossos P17, two tenths slower than Grosjean and two tenths clear of Sauber pair Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson, who were separated by just six hundredths of a second.

Brendon Hartley qualified slowest of all by some distance in the Toro Rosso. Porsche’s World Endurance champion delivered a “scruffy” first lap, improved on his second run, but finished the session nearly half a second down on Ericsson.

Qualifying last negates Hartley’s grid penalty for taking a ninth MGU-H on his Renault engine ahead of practice.

So a fantastic way to sign off Mercedes’ qualifying result this season. 15 poles and another front row slot. It’s going to be a fascinating race at Yas Marina with the fight for the runner up spot between Bottas and Vettel.

Qualifying positions, Yas Marina:

1    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1m36.231s
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m36.403s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m36.777s
4    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m36.959s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m36.985s
6    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m37.328s
7    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1m38.282s
8    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m38.374s
9    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1m38.397s
10    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m38.550s
11    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m38.636s
12    Carlos Sainz    Renault    1m38.725s
13    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    1m38.808s
14    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    1m39.298s
15    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    1m39.646s
16    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m39.516s
17    Pierre Gasly    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m39.724s
18    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1m39.930s
19    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m39.994s
20    Brendon Hartley    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m40.471s

Vettel victorious in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel achieved his fifth victory of the season after a masterclass drive for Ferrari at the Brazilian Grand Prix, to defeat Valtteri Bottas.

Vettel passed pole-sitter Bottas on the inside into Turn 1 and had the speed to fend off an attack from his Mercedes rival to secure Ferrari’s first victory since the Hungarian Grand Prix in July.

Bottas crossed the line second, 2.7 seconds adrift, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen holding off a charging Lewis Hamilton, who had started from the pitlane, to finish third for the third race in succession.

Vettel made a great start from second on the grid and though Bottas gave him a squeeze into Turn 1, the Ferrari driver made the move stick.

Further down the field, Kevin Magnussen squeezed Stoffel Vandoorne towards Daniel Ricciardo exiting Turn 2.

Ricciardo was spun round, dropping him to the back of the field, but he continued while Vandoorne and Magnussen retired immediately.

That incident sparked a safety car and was not the only clash on the opening lap – Esteban Ocon suffered the first retirement of his Formula 1 career after being tagged by Romain Grosjean, who lost control of his Haas at Turn 5.

Grosjean continued, but was handed a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision, and ultimately finished P15.

At the restart, Vettel retained the lead from Bottas, Raikkonen and Max Verstappen, with Felipe Massa delighting his home crowd with a pass around the outside of Fernando Alonso into Turn 1 for fifth.

Hamilton, running on soft tyres, made good progress through the field and was up into the points by lap nine, passing Pierre Gasly for P10.

Bottas was the first to pit for softs, with Vettel pitting a lap later and rejoining just ahead of the Mercedes driver, managing to hold him off into Turn 4.

As those who started the race on the super-softs pitted, Hamilton inherited the lead and pushed on until lap 43, when he pitted, rejoining P15 – 19 seconds behind Vettel.

The four-time world champion was the fastest driver on the track, catching and passing Verstappen around the outside on the run to Turn 4 with 12 laps to go.

He then rapidly caught Raikkonen but a lock-up into Turn 1 dropped him back and he could not attack the Ferrari before the race’s end.

Verstappen, who struggled with his tyres in the closing stages leading to a late stop for super-softs, was fifth ahead of Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo.

Massa held off Alonso to take seventh in his final Brazilian Grand Prix and penultimate race of his Formula 1 career.

Sergio Perez took ninth, crossing the line right behind Alonso, with Nico Hulkenberg scoring Renault’s first point since Singapore with P10.

So a fantastic result for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari following a couple of difficult races. Losing the championship was a big blow to rival Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. But this Brazilian Grand Prix victory should boost morale in fighting for title glory next year.

Brazilian Grand Prix race results, after 71 laps:
1    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1h31m26.260s
2    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    2.762s
3    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    4.600s
4    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    5.468s
5    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    32.940s
6    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    48.691s
7    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m08.882s
8    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m09.363s
9    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m09.500s
10    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1 Lap
11    Carlos Sainz    Renault    1 Lap
12    Pierre Gasly    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
13    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
14    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
15    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    2 Laps
16    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    2 Laps
–    Brendon Hartley    Toro Rosso-Renault    Retirement
–    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    Collision
–    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    Collision
–    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    Collision

Drivers’ standings:
1    Lewis Hamilton    345
2    Sebastian Vettel    302
3    Valtteri Bottas    280
4    Daniel Ricciardo    200
5    Kimi Raikkonen    193
6    Max Verstappen    158
7    Sergio Perez    94
8    Esteban Ocon    83
9    Carlos Sainz    54
10    Felipe Massa    42
11    Lance Stroll    40
12    Nico Hulkenberg    35
13    Romain Grosjean    28
14    Kevin Magnussen    19
15    Fernando Alonso    15
16    Stoffel Vandoorne    13
17    Jolyon Palmer    8
18    Pascal Wehrlein    5
19    Daniil Kvyat    5
20    Marcus Ericsson    0
21    Pierre Gasly    0
22    Antonio Giovinazzi    0
23    Brendon Hartley    0

Constructors’ standings:
1    Mercedes    625
2    Ferrari    495
3    Red Bull-Renault    358
4    Force India-Mercedes    177
5    Williams-Mercedes    82
6    Toro Rosso-Renault    53
7    Renault    49
8    Haas-Ferrari    47
9    McLaren-Honda    28
10    Sauber-Ferrari    5

Bottes scores Brazilian Grand Prix pole position

Valtteri Bottas scored an important pole position for Mercedes as his team-mate Lewis Hamilton crashed out in qualifying.

New champion Lewis Hamilton was one of the favourites for pole after leading Friday practice sessions, but Hamilton crashed heavily at the high-speed Ferradura right-hander on his first flying lap in Q1.

Hamilton lost the rear of the car suddenly mid-corner and slammed hard into the barriers rear first.

He apologised to his team on the radio before emerging unscathed, but took no further part in the session.

Hamilton’s first Q1 exit since the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix cleared the way for Bottas to battle the Ferraris for top spot.

Bottas was fastest in Q1, but trailed Sebastian Vettel in Q2 and after the first runs in Q3.

Vettel failed to improve on his final run in Q3, but Bottas found 0.120 seconds to beat Vettel to pole by just 0.038 seconds, with a best lap of one minute, 08.322 seconds.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was third quickest, just under two tenths slower than Vettel, while Max Verstappen’s Red Bull was the only other car to lap below one minute, 09 seconds in fourth.

Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull was fifth, but he faces a 10-place grid penalty for an MGU-H change ahead of practice.

Sergio Perez’s Force India completed the top six, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda, the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr, and the Williams of Felipe Massa, who almost crashed after gesticulating at Sainz in Q3.

Esteban Ocon failed to make Q3 for the first time since  Singapore Grand Prix, missing the cut by less than a tenth to Sainz.

Romain Grosjean broke into the one minute, 09 seconds for the first time this weekend and briefly occupied a provisional Q3 spot, but fell to P12 as others improved at the end of Q2.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren-Honda and Grosjean’s Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen ended up P13 and P14 respectively, both paying the price for failing to break through the one minute, 10 seconds barrier.

Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley was P15, but he used Q2 to practice his start procedures rather than set a time, knowing he faces a 10-place grid penalty for an MGU-H change ahead of practice.

Hartley managed to drag himself narrowly into Q2 at the expense of Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein and Toro Rosso team-mate Pierre Gasly, who all lapped in one minute, 10.6 seconds in Q1.

Wehrlein was left feeling disappointed to miss the cut by just 0.053 seconds. Gasly, who faces a 10-place grid penalty for an MGU-H change ahead of practice, missed it by 0.061 seconds.

Hamilton’s crash gave Williams extra time to finish preparing Lance Stroll’s car after changing its engine and gearbox ahead of the session, but Stroll could only manage P18, less than a tenth slower than Gasly.

Stroll will take a five-place grid penalty for that gearbox swap.

Marcus Ericsson was another tenth further back in the second Sauber, beating only Hamilton’s Mercedes, which failed to set a time.

So a brilliant qualifying result for Valtteri Bottas. His third pole position this season when the pressure was on after his team-mate crashed out. The Mercedes driver delivered the result and the fight is on for the runner-up position in the championship.

Qualifying positions, Brazilian Grand Prix:
1    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1m08.322s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    0.038s
3    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    0.216s
4    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    0.603s
5    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1.276s
6    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1.295s
7    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1.381s
8    Carlos Sainz    Renault    1.483s
9    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1.519s
10    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1.508s
11    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1.557s
12    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    1.794s
13    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    1.832s
14    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    2.356s
15    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1.008s
16    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    2.553s
17    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    2.454s
18    Brendon Hartley    Toro Rosso-Renault    –
19    Pierre Gasly    Toro Rosso-Renault    2.364s
20    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes