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Valtteri Bottas beat Mercedes team-mate and world champion Lewis Hamilton to the finish line during Sunday’s 2017 Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix, the final race of the calendar year.
The duo were much faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, dominating a dull race, while Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen finished further back. Daniel Ricciardo suffered yet another retirement, his third in four races.
For the full race results, visit F1’s official website.
Both Mercedes drivers had a clean start, with Bottas taking the lead into Turn 1, while in the background, Kevin Magnussen spun out and had to rejoin the pack at the back. Nico Hulkenberg was given a penalty for an illegal overtake, but the German quickly raced out to a three-second advantage over Sergio Perez.
The first stages of the race were devoid of major action, with the top drivers holding steady. Raikkonen and Verstappen had something of a private battle going, while Bottas and Hamilton easily kept Vettel at a distance.
With so little going on, pundits and fans alike lost hope for an exciting race early. Motorsport.com’s Pablo Elizalde was among them:
In the background, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa battled for position, but the Williams clearly had the edge on the McLaren, even with DRS on the straits.
Verstappen tried to force the action with an undercut, but despite making a faster stop, he still ended up behind Raikkonen, courtesy of a slower Force India in front of him. Hulkenberg lost time on his stop but still got out ahead of Perez.
The midfield battle was a lot more exciting than anything happening at the front, and even Mercedes’ official Twitter account appeared more interested in that:
Mercedes-AMG F1 @MercedesAMGF1
There’s a @HaasF1Team in front of a @RenaultSportF1 and we’re not sure if this is big for the championship but it’s exciting! 🙌 #AbuDhabiGP 🇦🇪 #F1
Ricciardo struggled ahead of his stop and parked his car soon after, dropping out of yet another race. The retirement opened the door for Raikkonen to steal fourth place in the championship.
Hamilton couldn’t make the overcut stick on Bottas, but with Vettel falling further back, it was all smooth sailing for the Silver Arrows.
The same couldn’t be said for Renault, who lost Carlos Sainz after a disastrous pit stop. The Yas Marina Circuit’s official Twitter account described the unusual scenes:
Yas Marina Circuit @ymcofficial
Big drama for @RenaultSportF1 and P6 in championship as left-front wheel comes off after @Carlossainz55 pit stop! #AbuDhabiGP #F1Finale
Hamilton was on the fresher tyres as he hunted for his team-mate, but Bottas appeared faster through the final sector. He closed the gap entering the final six laps, but the Finn again made his move in the final corners before opening up a new lead.
That proved to be decisive, as Hamilton was unable to bridge the gap. Felipe Massa earned points in his last-ever race, finishing 10th, while Hulkenberg beat Perez to the finish line. Renault took sixth place in the constructor championship from Toro Rosso.