The Silver Arrows turn their 50th front-row lockout into their 40th 1-2 victory in Formula One. Valtteri Bottas claimed his third career victory today and his first race win at the Yas Marina Circuit, the Abu Dhabi race was not exactly a thriller.
The positions remained the same after the start, even if there were a few duels and Raikkonen made sure Ricciardo knew he was right behind him. Nothing much changed over the following laps, as Yas Marina is not a great venue for overtaking. The run of pit stops began on lap 15, it being the best way to make up ground in Abu Dhabi. Verstappen kicked it off, with Ferrari “covering” the move, bringing in Kimi, who was in front of Max, on the following lap. A switch to the Supersofts and a change of wing angle, all in just over 2 seconds: the strategy worked and the Iceman maintained station.
Ricciardo brought his Red Bull in on lap 20 and Ferrari got ready in pit lane for Seb, who was ahead of Daniel. The move worked well, but, anyway, Ricciardo had to retire immediately afterwards. The two Ferraris were therefore in third and fourth places, at the moment that Bottas pitted. When Hamilton also came in for the red-banded tyres, that was it for the run of pit stops for the leaders.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (668 points) finishes the season with a 146 point lead over Ferrari (522 points) in the Constructors’ Championship.
There was a lot of pressure from Lewis from behind throughout the entire race. I knew that one proper mistake could have ruined it. I had to keep my head down and go lap by lap. I couldn’t be happier to end the season like this. Of course, it would have been nice to get the second place in the championship, but Sebastian had a good weekend as well. Looking at the overall season, I need to perform better; but I’m very pleased with how the end of the season has been going for me. I’m really happy to be part of the team that won the constructors’ championship. Mercedes has given me the opportunity to win a few races and claim a few pole positions, so I’ m a really proud team member. However, I was hoping for an overall better result in the drivers’ point. I’ve learned a lot this season, so now I’m really looking forward to next year. This weekend shows that I can perform, I can be on pole and win races. So now I need to try and do it more often next year.