Hamilton dominates F1 Abu Dhabi GP, Verstappen beats Leclerc to P2

Scott Mitchell
Hamilton wins in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen recovers P2
Hamilton wins in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen recovers P2

Lewis Hamilton ended his title-winning 2019 Formula 1 season by dominating the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen overcame a power problem to pass Charles Leclerc and finish second.

Hamilton's 11th 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.

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Verstappen executed 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.

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 pitted on lap 12, with Leclerc far enough ahead of Sebastian Vettel not to hold up his team-mate in the pitbox but Vettel subsequently lost time to 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 further seconds as the Mercedes struggled to clear the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg due to a technical issue that meant no drivers could 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 with his power unit despite showing no lack of pace and slowly closing on Leclerc.

Red Bull told Verstappen it could not fix the issue, which 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 brought him in for a second time to set the fastest lap - which he failed to earn.

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

Leclerc completed the podium, but his third place 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, after he 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 only 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 tour.

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 place in the constructors' championship.

Nico Hulkenberg looked set to sign off his three-year spell with Renault, and potentially his F1 career, with a point for 10th but was passed by the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr on the very last lap.

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

Results - 55 laps

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Gap

1

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

Mercedes

1h34m05.715s

2

Max Verstappen

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

Red Bull/Honda

16.772s

3

Charles Leclerc

Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow

Ferrari

43.435s

4

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

Mercedes

44.379s

5

Sebastian Vettel

Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow

Ferrari

1m04.357s

6

Alexander Albon

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

Red Bull/Honda

1m09.205s

7

Sergio Perez

SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team

Racing Point/Mercedes

1 Lap

8

Lando Norris

McLaren F1 Team

McLaren/Renault

1 Lap

9

Daniil Kvyat

Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda

Toro Rosso/Honda

1 Lap

10

Carlos Sainz Jr.

McLaren F1 Team

McLaren/Renault

1 Lap

11

Daniel Ricciardo

Renault F1 Team

Renault

1 Lap

12

Nico Hulkenberg

Renault F1 Team

Renault

1 Lap

13

Kimi Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo Racing

Alfa Romeo/Ferrari

1 Lap

14

Kevin Magnussen

Haas F1 Team

Haas/Ferrari

1 Lap

15

Romain Grosjean

Haas F1 Team

Haas/Ferrari

1 Lap

16

Antonio Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo Racing

Alfa Romeo/Ferrari

1 Lap

17

George Russell

ROKiT Williams Racing

Williams/Mercedes

1 Lap

18

Pierre Gasly

Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda

Toro Rosso/Honda

2 Laps

19

Robert Kubica

ROKiT Williams Racing

Williams/Mercedes

2 Laps

-

Lance Stroll

SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team

Racing Point/Mercedes

Brakes

Drivers' championship

Pos

Driver

Points

1

Lewis Hamilton

413

2

Valtteri Bottas

326

3

Max Verstappen

278

4

Charles Leclerc

264

5

Sebastian Vettel

240

6

Carlos Sainz Jr.

96

7

Pierre Gasly

95

8

Alexander Albon

92

9

Daniel Ricciardo

54

10

Sergio Perez

52

11

Lando Norris

49

12

Kimi Raikkonen

43

13

Daniil Kvyat

37

14

Nico Hulkenberg

37

15

Lance Stroll

21

16

Kevin Magnussen

20

17

Antonio Giovinazzi

14

18

Romain Grosjean

8

19

Robert Kubica

1

20

George Russell

0

Constructors' championship

Pos

Constructor

Points

1

Mercedes

739

2

Ferrari

504

3

Red Bull/Honda

417

4

McLaren/Renault

145

5

Renault

91

6

Toro Rosso/Honda

85

7

Racing Point/Mercedes

73

8

Alfa Romeo/Ferrari

57

9

Haas/Ferrari

28

10

Williams/Mercedes

1

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