Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019
Lewis Hamilton had clinched this year’s F1 drivers’ championship well over a month ago in Mexico, so he was free to cruise through the final three races of the season.
But that’s not the mentality that’s made him a six-time world champion. So after two winless races, including a disappointing seventh-place finish in Brazil, he produced another outstanding performance en route to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
It wasn’t a particularly dramatic end to the Formula One season as Hamilton dominated from start to finish just like the Abu Dhabi 2019 betting odds pointed to. But it was quite befitting of Hamilton’s season, which has been utterly outstanding from start to finish.
Highlights of the game
It was evident from qualifying that Hamilton had his sights set on ending the season on a high in Abu Dhabi. He was the fastest in Q1 and second in Q2 before securing pole over team-mate Valtteri Bottas in Q3.
But due to Bottas exceeding his quote for power unit components, he was forced to start all the way down in 20th, so Max Verstappen was promoted to second, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc third.
Leclerc was facing his own controversy due to the discrepancy of his fuel load to the one Ferrari had declared. Although the matter would be investigated after the race.
Hamilton got off to a great start, as did Leclerc, who quickly overtook Verstappen for second spot after the first few corners.
Within the first handful of laps, Hamilton built up a three-second lead over Leclerc. And by lap 10, it had nearly doubled to nearly six seconds.
Ferrari brought in both Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, who started fourth on the grid, for their first pit stop shortly thereafter as Hamilton extended his lead to over 10 seconds.
Hamilton finally made his stop nearly midway through the race, and to illustrate just how dominant he’d been, he still had a six-plus-second lead once he came out of the pits.
Meanwhile, Bottas came in for his first pit on lap 30. The Finn, who began all the way down in last place, had done brilliantly to work his way up to sixth.
There weren’t too many Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019 highlights to speak of following that first lap when Leclerc overtook Verstappen. But there was finally some notable racing on lap 32, and once again, it was those two in the middle of it all.
After a nervy wheel-to-wheel tussle which almost resulted in a coming together, Verstappen successfully wrestled back second spot from the Ferrari. But at the front, Hamilton remained completely comfortable with a 14-second lead over Verstappen.
The two Ferraris once again pit in quick succession on lap 39 with Leclerc rejoining in third and Vettel in sixth.
Hot on Leclerc’s heels was Bottas, who was making a late charge to claim an unlikely podium finish after starting from the very back of the grid. He was five seconds down with just four laps remaining.
But it wasn’t to be for Bottas, who just about ran out of time. Still, it was a terrific performance considering the circumstances.
At least Mercedes had one driver on the podium, and that was Hamilton. The Briton, who put the finishing touches on a brilliant drive by setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap, took the chequered flag in comfortable fashion.
Hamilton’s win was the 50th of his career after claiming pole. It was also his 19th career race where he led from start to finish. That ties him with the great Ayrton Senna for the all-time record. He also tied his own all-time record for consecutive points finishes with 33.
Hamilton also set a new personal record for highest single-season points total (413); his previous best was 408 back in 2018. He also tied his best-ever single-season wins total with 11.
Mercedes have now won each of the last six Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, with Hamilton claiming four of those victories. He has five wins in Abu Dhabi overall, the most in the race’s history.
Elsewhere, Charles Leclerc kept his third-place finish in Abu Dhabi — Ferrari were fined for the fuel discrepancy issue instead — and fourth in the drivers’ standings, 24 points ahead of Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel. It’s the first time Vettel has finished below his team-mate at season’s end during his tenure with Scuderia.
And that’s a wrap on the 2019 F1 season! Fans will once again need to make that agonising wait until March for the new season to kick off once again in Australia.
But while the new season is still some way away, SBOBET already has odds up on who will win the 2020 F1 World Championship, so place your bets in now!
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