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

6 thoughts to “Bottas signs off Formula 1 season with victory at Abu Dhabi”

  1. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Team mate Lewis Hamilton loomed large in his mirrors for most of the race, but Valtteri Bottas soaked up the pressure in style to pull clear at the end and win Sunday’s 2017 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. As Mercedes ran away and hid at Yas Marina, Sebastian Vettel came home a distant third for Ferrari, 15 seconds down the road.

    Kimi Raikkonen followed his team mate home in fourth, with Max Verstappen keeping the Finn honest throughout as the only Red Bull finisher in fifth, after Daniel Ricciardo became the first retirement on lap 21 with hydraulic problems.

    Nico Hulkenberg was sixth, lifting Renault ahead of Toro Rosso to sixth in the final constructor standings, with the Forced Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon next up, as McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Williams’ Felipe Massa completed the top ten.

    It might not have been the best race of what has been a gripping season, but it yielded Bottas the victory he lost in Brazil, and which he craved when he took pole position here yesterday.

    The Finn never put a wheel wrong after he took the lead from the start and held it throughout the ensuing 55 laps despite increasing pressure from Hamilton.

    Bottas had the edge on the ultrasoft Pirelli tyres during their opening stints, and had a lead of 2.5s when he pitted on the 22nd lap. Hamilton then led for two laps before pitting, and found himself able to push harder on the supersofts. Despite suggesting that it is impossible to follow another car and challenge it round Yas Marina, he got the gap down to 1.1s on the 29th lap, but Bottas always seemed to have an answer and never looked ruffled as he controlled the pace.

    Hamilton had another big push on the 49th lap, getting within half a second at one stage as they came up behind Alonso’s lapped McLaren, but soon after Vettel, more than 20s in arrears, had popped in fastest lap, Bottas annihilated that twice to pull away from Hamilton, almost as if the result had been pre-ordained.

    In the end, he led Hamilton home by 3.8s in the most convincing race of his career, the Silver Arrows leaving Vettel a long way back in third on a day when Ferrari had reliability, but not outright pace.

    Ricciardo had made a poor start but battled back ahead of Raikkonen in the other Ferrari, but his Red Bull quit after his pit stop on the 21st lap with suspected power steering hydraulics failure. That cost the Australian fourth place overall in the driver standings, as Raikkonen’s fourth place race finish put him on 205 points to his 200. By the flag, Verstappen got within eight-tenths of a second of the Ferrari, but their respective positions were never in doubt.

    Hulkenberg had to serve a five-second penalty for gaining advantage over Perez by going off track early in the race, and also had delays in the pits with the right rear wheel of his Renault after serving it, but sixth place brought the team eight points and thus moved them ahead of Toro Rosso in the final constructors’ standings. It was not an easy race for the French team, however, as a loose left front wheel put Carlos Sainz into retirement immediately after his pit stop on the 31st lap when they looked set to score even more points.

    Perez had to be content with seventh for Force India, nearly seven seconds ahead of team mate Ocon, as Alonso took ninth in the final race for McLaren Honda. Behind him, Massa celebrated his last Grand Prix with a solid run to 10th and the final point, joining the victorious Mercedes in making happy donuts on his slow-down lap.

    The best racing took place way down the field, where Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen brought their Haas cars home 11th and 13th, sandwiching Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren. Both the Dane and the Belgian had to come back from early problems, but the other star was Pascal Wehrlein, who dragged his Sauber past Magnussen at one stage only to be blown away on the straight by the Haas. He finished an honourable 14th, only 1.5s off the second Haas, as the vanquished Toro Rossos of Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly led Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber home.

    Lance Stroll was the final finisher, struggling horribly with front tyre temperatures on his Williams.

  2. Daniel Ricciardo says the pain of losing fourth position in the Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship due to a final-round retirement was offset by Kimi Raikkonen underperforming in his Ferrari across the season.

    Ricciardo was forced to retire from the Abu Dhabi finale with a hydraulic failure on his Red Bull, having run ahead of Raikkonen, whose fourth place at the finish meant he beat Ricciardo by five points.

    When asked how disappointed he was to lose fourth in the point standings, he told NBC: “If I’m brutally honest, with that car he should have been a long way in front in the championship.

    “So, yeah, I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

    Ricciardo said his fifth retirement of the season due to mechanical failure was only more painful due to the time gap before the 2018 season opener in Australia.

    “This one hurts actually, probably more than the others,” he said. “Obviously I was gutted in Austin, but we had another chance in a week’s time, but I don’t have another chance until March now.

    “It’s just reliability, nothing I could have done to prevent it. Pretty bitter way to end the season to be honest. Sure, we had some highs but we finished in a bit of a trench.”


  3. Force India slams the race stewards over Nico Hulkenberg penalty. has the details.

    Force India has slammed the Formula 1 stewards for the way Nico Hulkenberg was penalised for cutting the track at the beginning of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Hulkenberg’s Renault moved ahead of the Force India of Sergio Perez on the opening lap when he went off track at the Turns 11-12-13 chicane, and he was handed a five-second penalty that he had to serve at his pitstop.

    That gave the Renault driver enough time to build a gap over Perez, meaning he stayed ahead of the Mexican after serving the penalty and finished sixth, moving Renault up a place in the constructors’ championship in the process.

    Perez complained several times on the radio that Hulkenberg should have had to give the position back immediately, and his team agreed that the penalty was not harsh enough.

    “Hulkenberg should have given the place back, just like he did when he did the same thing to [Romain] Grosjean [later in the race],” Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer told Sky Sports.

    “It makes a mockery of this sport to have it so inconsistent.

    “It’s a track position race here, we knew they [Renault] were a bit quicker than us at the beginning on the ultrasoft, which is why we needed to get ahead and stay ahead.

    “Hulkenberg cuts a corner, the FIA didn’t do anything about it, and guess what? They gain a position in the constructors’ championship, which means more money and more competitiveness next year.

    “I don’t know what [the stewards] were thinking, it’s really difficult when it’s all over the place, to understand. The inconsistency is not great.”

    Renault felt the penalty was fair, with Hulkenberg believing that if anything, he was forced to go off track.

    “It’s always different car, different perspective,” Hulkenberg told TV crews after the race. “From where I was sitting, I could see he was locking up and running wide.

    “I had the car stopped and was ready to make the corner but he was running wide, so I had no place to go.

    “It’s not that easy to say I can stop that much more and tuck in behind him. I had nowhere to go, and that is also a bit forcing another guy off the track, in my opinion.

    “In the circumstances, I think the five-second time penalty was fair and reasonable.”

    Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul said Renault “did what it takes to build the gap so that the penalty would be harmless”, while Perez felt the choice of penalty from the stewards was wrong.

    “It was a bit of a strange penalty,” Perez told NBC. “I was ahead of him and he just left the track and gained an advantage.

    “That’s quite good when you have more pace than the other car, to cut the track and gain an advantage. I don’t think the penalty was good – he should have given back the position.”

  4. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was less than impress by having to reduce his pace in order to save fuel. The Iceman commented that fuel saving was “nothing to do with racing”. has the details.

    Kimi Raikkonen says Formula 1’s fuel limits meant the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix had “nothing to do with racing” because he had to save so much fuel on Sunday.

    The Ferrari driver finished fourth, fending off Max Verstappen for the whole race and gaining a position when Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull retired ahead of him.

    However, Raikkonen said he didn’t enjoy the race, as the Yas Marina track requires significant fuel saving.

    “To be honest, the whole race was pretty much fuel-saving, trying to hold the guy behind and save enough fuel to be legal at the end,” Raikkonen told TV crews after the race.

    “Nothing to do with racing, really. Unfortunately that’s the rules. Some circuits it’s like this, and it’s not really fun.

    “We had a decent car, but when it’s like this there’s nothing to do with the car.

    “Rules are rules, it just doesn’t feel like racing really, we’re just trying to use the amount of fuel we are allowed, and cruise every lap.”

    Raikkonen’s teammate Sebastian Vettel said he had to save fuel at the beginning of the second stint, which meant he lost touch with the Mercedes drivers ahead, eventually finishing 19 seconds behind race winner Valtteri Bottas.

    While it was a disappointing way for Ferrari’s season to end, Vettel said the team could be pleased with the way it took the fight to Mercedes this year.

    “You saw today we weren’t quick enough,” said Vettel, who finished 25 seconds ahead of Raikkonen.

    “I don’t think it’s a shame to come second [in the championship] in the way that we did, but it’s not what we want.

    “Overall we had a very good run – I don’t think there was an awful lot more to grab.

    “As a Ferrari driver you have no time to relax. There is quite a bit of work to do before Christmas to close the chapter on this year.

    “We’ll pick up all the lessons that there are – we are trying to push through and get into better shape for next year.”

  5. McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne thinks damage caused his car to handle like a “rally car” at Yas Marina. has the news story.

    Stoffel Vandoorne believes damage to his McLaren MCL32 caused it to handle like “a rally car” during Formula 1’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Vandoorne had been close to teammate Fernando Alonso’s pace throughout the Yas Marina weekend, but struggled badly in the race, finishing more than a minute behind his teammate in 12th.

    “It was a very difficult start to the race, I think there was some kind of damage to the car – or something, at least, was wrong in the beginning,” Vandoorne said after the race.

    “It really felt like a rally car to drive for me out there. We went into the pits early to change the tyres, to assess the damage on the car as well, and after the pitstop we still continued to struggle for a while.

    “The pace gradually recovered a little bit but still nowhere near good.”

    The Belgian stressed the team still needed to analyse the issue, but suggested it could’ve been diffuser damage that made the car “undriveable”.

    Asked to elaborate on how the car felt to drive, he said: “There was no grip at all for me, a lot of sliding around, felt like a big problem. We have to check the data and see what was wrong.”

    Vandoorne was under pressure from the Haas of Kevin Magnussen and a host of other cars towards the end of the race, but kept position.

    “I don’t know how I managed [to stay ahead],” he said. “I think we maximised more or less everything with what we had today, to see the chequered flag and to keep the cars behind in the end was probably the best we could do.”

    Fellow McLaren driver Alonso admitted his own race was “not very exciting”, aside from a scrap with the Williams of Felipe Massa for what would end up being ninth place.

    “It went in our favour today and we overtook him after the stop,” Alonso said.

    “Nice race. Not very exciting from our position, just one battle there, and after that we were running alone most of the race, but good to finish in the points.”

    With Abu Dhabi marking the final race of the failed McLaren-Honda project ahead of the Woking-based team’s switch to Renault engines next year, Alonso said he was happy about how the final race of the partnership turned out.

    “It was an important race for this project,” he said. “We wanted to finish in the points. We did a solid race and we scored two points, so happy with that.”

    He admitted his mind has been on 2018 for “a couple of races” now, before adding: “Three years of this project. We should be proud of what we tried to do.

    “We didn’t succeed in terms of results, but everybody worked very hard. We split our ways but hopefully we both find results in the future.”

  6. It wasn’t the most exciting Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and world champion Lewis Hamilton believes the Yas Marina circuit is not ideal for Formula 1 racing. provides the details.

    Lewis Hamilton says the lack of overtaking in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix shows the Yas Marina track does not suit Formula 1 cars in its current configuration.

    Hamilton pursued his victorious Mercedes F1 teammate Valtteri Bottas throughout the race but was unable to pass.

    The world champion said his engineers had told him he needed to be 1.4 seconds quicker to have a hope of overtaking at the track.

    “You do get a bit of a tow down the straights but once you get to the last sector…” said Hamilton. “It’s a great, great track but unfortunately it doesn’t suit the cars very well.

    “In the last sector you just can’t follow. It’s one of the worst tracks in the sense that you need 1.4s advantage to pass the car in front.

    “And we’ve got the same car, we’ve a couple of tenths between us so I was never going to overtake unless he made a big mistake and went off – and even then they have massive run-off areas and you can still keep it on.”

    Asked if the fact he was battling his teammate affected how hard he was willing to challenge, Hamilton said the track configuration meant that made no difference.

    “The engineers say it’s a 1.4s delta you need to overtake a car in front,” he reiterated. “It doesn’t matter what car is ahead. It would’ve been difficult.

    “To get as close as I was shows I had good pace. But once you get within 1.2s it’s like you hit a wall and the car stops. Basically you start sliding around, all four wheels. So there was a lot of rallying today.”

    Bottas agreed that the track layout had been in his favour.

    “I could feel that sector three was good for me, but also it’s a track where it’s really difficult to follow in sector three,” he said.

    “Once you get close there, I could feel with the lapped cars, how much you lose. I knew that Lewis was always going to be struggling as he got closer to me in sector three.

    “I could really control the race, everyone knows here it’s not easy to overtake.”

    Hamilton emphasised that he thought Yas Marina should remain F1’s season finale.

    “I think this was one of the best places, if not the best, to have the last race in terms of the atmosphere, in terms of the hospitality, it’s second to none,” he said.

    “It’s such a beautiful place so it’s a great week. I think the track, as a lot of the tracks do, has some small flaws in the sense that it’s hard to follow. I’m not a track designer and I don’t know if it can be changed.”

    Circuit architect Hermann Tilke intimated on Sunday that changes were possible.

    “We have an idea to change one corner,” he told Sky Sports F1. “It’s a very small change, but maybe it has a lot of impact.”

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