Hamilton masterclass victory at Yas Marina


Six-time world champion signed off his successful season of Formula 1 racing with a lights-to-flag victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s eleventh victory of the year, his joint-best haul in a single campaign, was never in doubt as he comfortably led from pole position, aided by Leclerc getting ahead of Verstappen on the first lap.

Verstappen performed a long first stint then caught and forced his way past Leclerc to secure second and finish a career-best third in the drivers’ championship.

Poleman Hamilton streaked clear immediately at the start, as Leclerc used the slipstream to get ahead of Verstappen on the second of the two back straights.

The race remained stagnant until the two Ferraris pit on lap 12, with Leclerc far enough ahead of Sebastian Vettel not to hold up his teammate but Vettel subsequently losing time by a slow change of his left-rear tyre.

That meant Vettel rejoined behind Valtteri Bottas, who was running long after starting from the back of the grid, and Vettel lost time as the Mercedes struggled to clear the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg due to an issue that meant nobody was able to use the DRS through the first third of the race.

At the front, Hamilton and Verstappen ran extremely long on their medium tyres, with Verstappen stopping on lap 25 and Hamilton coming in a lap later.

Verstappen complained of “massive lag” when he rejoined and would continue to ask for a solution to the problem despite showing no lack of pace and slowly closing on Leclerc.

Red Bull told Verstappen it could not fix the issue, but that did not stop Verstappen using the DRS to attack at the end of the first back straight and squeeze by on the inside.

Leclerc tried to fight back with an aggressive, late-on-the-brakes pass on the outside at the end of the following straight, but Verstappen was able to rebuff the attempt.

With Vettel dropping back in fourth and eventually pitting, and neither Alex Albon or Bottas within a pitstop, Ferrari switched Leclerc to ‘Plan C’ and pit him for a second time to set the fastest lap – which he failed to earn.

That left Verstappen free to secure a comfortable second position, 16.7 seconds behind race winner Hamilton, who pumped in the fastest lap on his penultimate tour to clinch a bonus point.

Leclerc completed the podium, but his third position is in doubt as Ferrari faces a stewards’ inquiry into a “significant” pre-race fuel declaration discrepancy.

That means Bottas may yet be rewarded with a podium, having cleared Albon in the final third of the race to recover to fourth.

His progress from the back was slow early on because of the issue with the DRS, but strong pace thereafter eventually left him missing out on a podium to Leclerc by less than a second.

Vettel recovered some ground after his second stop by passing Albon for fifth with two laps to go.

Sergio Perez’s long first stint paved the way for a late charge to best-of-the-rest in seventh.

The Racing Point driver started 10th but a later stop than his midfield rivals allowed him to charge past five cars over the last 17 laps and pass the McLaren of Lando Norris on the final lap.

Daniil Kvyat finished ninth for Toro Rosso, beating its constructors’ championship rival Renault, but the Red Bull junior team’s two-point haul meant Renault still secured fifth position in the constructors’ championship.

Nico Hulkenberg looked set to sign off his three-year spell with Renault, and potentially his Formula 1 career, with a point for tenth but was passed by the McLaren of Carlos Sainz on the very last lap.

Sainz’s last-gasp move secured him sixth position in the drivers’ championship by just one point, ahead of Pierre Gasly.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in winning the season finale with a masterclass performance. Leading every lap in that beautiful Mercedes W10. This champions signed off their title success on a high. Kudos!


Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h34m05.715s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 16.772s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 43.435s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 44.379s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m04.357s
6 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 1m09.205s
7 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1 Lap
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1 Lap
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1 Lap
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1 Lap
11 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 Lap
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1 Lap
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
17 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 Lap
18 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 2 Laps
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 2 Laps
– Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes Retirement

4 thoughts to “Hamilton masterclass victory at Yas Marina”

  1. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    As the curtain came down on the 2019 Formula 1 season, Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a silky smooth evening beneath the floodlights at Abu Dhabi to record his 11th win of the season, ahead of the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

    Hamilton’s 50th pole-to-win of his career was arguably his most straightforward victory this season, as he comfortably eased away in the early part of the race before enjoying an untroubled run to the flag, to maintain Mercedes’ 100% win record at Yas Marina since 2014. It also meant that Hamilton tied his hero Ayrton Senna’s record for the 19th lights-to-flag victory of his career.

    Verstappen had held out hopes of pressuring Hamilton off the start to challenge for victory, but ultimately had to settle for P2, ahead of Leclerc. The Ferrari driver, however, is set to be investigated after the race for a fuel discrepancy reported ahead of the start of the Grand Prix…

    Behind the podium trio, Valtteri Bottas recovered from a back-of-the-grid start to end up fourth, less than a second behind Leclerc. A penultimate lap pass by Sebastian Vettel on Alex Albon gave the Ferrari driver fifth, while a fascinating last-lap scrap between Lando Norris and Sergio Perez saw Perez ultimately come out on top to claim ‘best of the rest’ in P7, ahead of Norris.

    Daniil Kvyat was ninth for Toro Rosso, while Carlos Sainz also made a last lap pass, on Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, to take a point for P10 – enough to see him claim sixth in the drivers’ standings for 2019.

    Even before the race had begun, there was intrigue, with a stewards’ directive issued 45 minutes before lights out announcing that Charles Leclerc would be investigated after the Grand Prix due to “a significant difference” in the amount of fuel in the car when he left the garage to go to the pits and the amount Ferrari had said was in it. It meant that Leclerc would race in Abu Dhabi with a shadow over him…

    That clearly wasn’t playing on Leclerc’s mind at the start as he made an incisive getaway from third on the grid before outdragging Verstappen for second into Turn 8. As pole-sitter Hamilton eased away at the front, ahead of Leclerc and Verstappen, behind came Vettel, Albon, Norris and Sainz.

    Further back, Kevin Magnussen had a fantastic getaway, jumping up from P14 to P9, while Pierre Gasly was tagged by the Racing Point of Lance Stroll in Turn 1, forcing him in for a new front wing and dropping him to the back of the field. Starting from the back, meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas had made it up to P14 by the end of Lap 1.

    Hamilton looked to have the legs on everyone in the early part of the race, as he quickly and consistently built up a cushion over Leclerc. His team mate Bottas was having a slightly tougher time of it, with the drag reduction system not available for any of the drivers for the first 18 laps of the race because of a technical glitch, harming the Finn’s early progress.

    Ferrari decided to make a bold call early on, double stacking Leclerc and Vettel in the pits on Lap 13. That worked out fine for Leclerc, but issues on the front and rear-left of Vettel’s car saw him stationary for 6.9s. Leclerc re-joined in P4 behind Hamilton, Verstappen and Nico Hulkenberg – the likes of Norris, Daniel Ricciardo and Sainz have already stopped – while Vettel’s slow stop meant he slotted back into P7.

    Further down the order, on what looks to be his last race, Robert Kubica was getting his elbows out, rebuffing the attempts of Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi to overtake at Turn 11 on Lap 24, with debris flying off both drivers’ cars as they touched. The stewards took a look, but decided no further action was required.

    Lap 26 saw Verstappen pit from second, before leader Hamilton followed suit a lap later, the Mercedes driver with enough in hand to emerge with his lead intact, while Verstappen dropped back behind Leclerc in P3.

    Not for long though. Despite complaining about apparent engine braking issues on his Red Bull, on Lap 32 Verstappen soared past Leclerc into the Turn 8 braking zone. Leclerc tried to fight back around the outside of Turn 11, but Verstappen had him covered, blasting off into second.

    The Ferraris were now struggling to make in-roads – so despite it not working well the first time, the team decided to double stack their drivers again on Lap 39. Their stops were smoother this time, Leclerc changing onto softs and emerging P3 for a final 16-lap assault, as Vettel took mediums, dropping him to P6 behind Albon and Bottas – with Bottas then passing Albon for P4 on Lap 40.

    Ultimately, however, Leclerc wasn’t able to use those softs to make any indent on Verstappen, meaning he had to settle for third behind the Dutchman, as Hamilton sailed breezily to win #11 of the year – meaning he secured over half the victories in 2019.

    There were scores to be settled further back before the chequered flag fell however. Lap 54 of 55 saw Vettel close up to the back of the struggling Alex Albon, using his fresher tyres to ease past him on the run down to Turn 11 to claim P5.

    Behind them, Racing Point’s Sergio Perez had shown excellent pace in the latter part of the race and narrowly trailed seventh-placed Lando Norris going into the last lap. The Mexican used all his experience, however, to sneak past the rookie on the final tour, claiming ‘best of the rest’ in P7, as Norris narrowly finished ahead of the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

    A frantic last lap for Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, saw the Spaniard take P10 from Hulkenberg, the one point he earned meaning that he finished ahead of Gasly and Albon for P6 in the drivers’ standings – a fitting return for a fine year for the Spaniard. And while both Renaults failed to score – Ricciardo and Hulkenberg ending up P11 and P12, Ricciardo having followed Sainz through to pass his out-going team mate on the last lap – Kvyat’s haul ultimately wasn’t enough to stop Renault beating Toro Rosso for fifth place in the standings.

    So, 2019 has seen the emergence of Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, Max Verstappen able to take the fight to Mercedes with a Honda-powered Red Bull, and even Bottas 2.0. But despite all that, once again, it’s Lewis Hamilton who rises above the rest, ending the season with his highest ever points haul in F1. Bring on 2020…

  2. Ferrari has been summoned to the stewards for a “significant difference” in the amount of fuel in Charles Leclerc’s Formula 1 car prior to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix start.

    A report from FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer issued less than an hour before the start of the race said the fuel declaration of Leclerc’s car was checked before he left the pitlane.

    According to Bauer, there was a “significant difference” between the declaration of the team and the amount of fuel inside the car.

    Bauer said this was not in compliance with FIA technical directive 12-19, which is believed to be one issued earlier this year.

    That technical directive, issued before the start of the season, lays out the procedures of how fuel is measured pre-race and what teams are required to do. It is what the FIA uses as the basis for the fuel measurement.

    The potential punishment Ferrari could face is unknown, and the matter has been referred to the stewards for their consideration.

    However, it will not be investigated until 19.45 local time – roughly one hour after the scheduled end of the race.

    When asked by Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle on the grid, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “The interesting word is significant – a ‘significant’ difference. The technical regulations are black and white. It’s obviously gone to the stewards for them to decide. Usually with a case like that it’s either legal or it isn’t.”

    When Brundle asked if he thought that would result in disqualification, Horner replied: “If you look at the technical reg, theoretically, I can’t see how he won’t be.”

    Leclerc is due to start the Abu Dhabi GP from third on the grid.

    He is fighting Max Verstappen, who starts second, for third in the championship and trails the Red Bull driver by 11 points.

    Source: Motorsport.com

  3. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel admits he “must do better” next season in order to score big results compared to rival Lewis Hamilton. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Sebastian Vettel says he “must do better” next year after his erratic performances in 2019 led to his worst Formula 1 championship finish as a Ferrari driver.

    Vettel ended the 2019 season in fifth place in the drivers’ standings, 24 points behind his new teammate Charles Leclerc – which is one place behind the fourth place he scored in ’16.

    His season included high-profile mistakes in Bahrain and Italy, with a lost victory in Canada after his defence against Lewis Hamilton was penalised, and the costly clash with Leclerc that put both Ferraris out in Brazil.

    When asked to assess his 2019 performances, Vettel said Ferrari “didn’t have the year that we were hoping for – full stop”.

    “I think the reasons are clear, the lessons are clear, now it’s up to us to make sure to take them on board,” he continued to Sky Sports.

    “As a team we must perform stronger, as an individual I think I can. I must do better. I can do better – it wasn’t a great year from my side”.

    But Vettel insisted “I don’t think it was as bad as it looks”, explaining that “there were many small things probably leading to maybe not a great picture in the end”.

    “But still, I’m the first one to look at myself and if I’m honest, I know that I can do better,” he added.

    “That’s for sure the target for next year – to do a step forward. And hopefully we get a stronger package as well to fight with Mercedes and Red Bull in the front.”

    Vettel finished Sunday’s final race of the 2019 season in Abu Dhabi in fifth place, well adrift of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who had started last due to an engine change grid penalty.

  4. McLaren Formula 1 racer Lando Norris says he was a “s*** driver” in his last-lap defeat against Sergio Perez in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Running in seventh place, as the best of the midfield cars, Norris came under pressure from Racing Point’s Perez in the final laps of the season finale, with the Mexican on much fresher tyres of the same hard compound.

    And though Norris managed to keep him at bay until the final lap, Perez ultimately got the move done around the outside of the Turn 11 left-hander after the second long straight.

    Norris described his defense against Perez as “not good enough” and “too fair”.

    “Going to sound like I’m pretty terrible now, but he did me round the outside, end of the back straight into Turn 11, after the GP2 pits,” Norris said.

    “Yeah, I defended, went to the inside, he committed around the outside, he had much better tyres, I was a bit nervous of locking or doing something stupid, but I just wasn’t forceful enough.

    “I didn’t change my mindset enough. I did the whole race being so calm and relaxed and looking after the fronts and the rears and driving slowly, and in this moment I needed to be aggressive and forceful and change how I was as a driver.

    “And I didn’t do that, basically. I just kind of braked, I didn’t think – ‘he’ll be going around the outside, I need to release the brakes and give him less room’ – I just was a shit driver, basically, in my mind, because he was the one guy I had to beat today, and I didn’t.

    “So, because of that I’m annoyed. But, yeah, the rest of the race was good, but it all led up to this one moment, and I failed in what I needed to do. That’s about it.”

    Norris’ frustration was exacerbated by the fact Perez narrowly beat him to 10th place in the drivers’ standings thanks to the move.

    “I was surprised to even hold him off as long as I did, for five or six laps before that, because the Racing Points are super quick in the straights. And he had much better tyres than me.

    “I was happy with a lot of the things that I did today, which was a good thing, but just that one mistake, I kind of let everything down with.”

    Perez, for his part, described the move on Norris as “one of the best in my career”, and was also full of praise for the way the McLaren rookie conducted himself in wheel-to-wheel battle.

    “[It’s] great for him, because he’s very young, but I think he’s very aggressive but fair,” Perez said.

    “It’s always great to fight with drivers like him, you know it’s going to be always very close but always very fair, there’s never going to be a contact.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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