Racing

Bottas pips Hamilton in season-ender

Finnish driver leads for much of race as Mercedes finish one-two in Abu Dhabi

Valtteri Bottas survived several laps of high-speed pressure from his Mercedes teammate and world champion Lewis Hamilton to claim a memorable victory in yesterday's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 28-year-old Finn, who started from pole position, led from the lights to the flag, apart from a spell following his first pit stop when the four-time champion was in control.

It was his third career victory, all of them recorded since he joined Mercedes to partner the 32-year-old Briton in January following the unexpected retirement of last year's champion German Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton came home a comfortable second, four seconds behind Bottas, having eased off in the closing laps after abandoning his bid to pass him in the turbulent air created when following close to another car.

Said Bottas: "It is a really important win for me following a difficult start to the second half of the year.

HAPPY ENDING

"I couldn't be happier to end the season like this. Congratulations to Lewis on winning the title, and congrats to Sebastian for finishing second in the championship.

"I was really managing the pace. It was a nice feeling. I had one lock-up, but otherwise no issues."

Hamilton added: "A big, big congratulations to Valtteri. He did an amazing job to hold me off. I gave it everything on every single lap, but it is very hard to overtake here."

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel finished a lonely third for Ferrari, as the two Mercedes men delivered celebratory "doughnuts" for the crowd.

It was Vettel's 99th career podium and his 13th of the season.

Said the German: "Congrats to Valtteri, I am very happy for him, and congrats again to Lewis. He deserved to win the championship.

"I hate to say it but he was the better man. We will do our bit over the winter and hopefully come back stronger."

Finn Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in the second Ferrari ahead of Dutchman Max Verstappen of Red Bull and German Nico Huelkenberg for Renault, whose sixth-place finish assured Renault of sixth place in the constructors' championship, ahead of Toro Rosso.

Mexican Sergio Perez came home seventh ahead of his Force India teammate Frenchman Esteban Ocon, two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of McLaren and retirement-bound Brazilian Felipe Massa, in his last F1 race, for Williams.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who was fourth on the grid, failed to finish after retiring his Red Bull for the third time in four outings.

He had a hydraulics problem. - WIRE SERVICES

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