'Better man' Hamilton can't end on a high
Valtteri Bottas won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix yesterday as Mercedes wrapped up the Formula One season with a one-two finish and four-times world champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second.
The win was a career third for the Finn, who had started on pole position at the Yas Marina circuit, and denied Hamilton a tenth of the campaign.
"It's a really important win for me after having a pretty difficult start to the second half of the year," said Bottas. "This pole and win, I couldn't be happier to end the season like this."
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel took third place to finish runner-up in a championship that Hamilton sealed in Mexico last month. The final points tally was Hamilton 363, Vettel 317 and Bottas 305.
Mercedes had already won the constructors' world championship for the fourth year in a row and ended with 668 points to Ferrari's 522. The one-two finish was their fourth of the season.
"After three, four or five laps I couldn't go any faster and from then it was pretty lonely," said Vettel. "Lewis deserves to win the championship this year. I hate to say it but he was the better man."
Hamilton kept Bottas in his sights but was unable to pass him. "Big congratulations to Valtteri, he did an amazing job to hold me off. It was a great race, I gave it everything. It is hard to overtake here," he said.
Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas were separated by just six points before the start, with millions of dollars in prize money at stake and Renault taking the honours thanks to Nico Hulkenberg's sixth place.
There was also an emotional send-off to Williams' veteran Brazilian driver Felipe Massa, the 2008 championship runner-up bowing out after 269 starts.