ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 26.11.17
The Yas Marina Circuit!
“It is a really important win for me. Pretty difficult start to the second half of the year, working hard into all the issues and getting better and better. This weekend I couldn’t be happier to end the season like this.” (Bottas)
1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
7. Sergio Perez (Force India)
8. Esteban Ocon (Force India) 9. Fernando Alonso (McLaren)
10. Felipe Massa (Williams)
More on the F1 teams of 2017
Valtteri Bottas dominated here in Abu Dhabi, in the last weekend of the Formula One season. Learning from his poor start from pole in Brazil, he made sure that this time he held onto pole position and controlled the race from that point on. He finishes 3rd in the championship; with 3 wins, never finishing a race below 6th place and with only one retirement – Bottas has had a solid year.
Bottas had a 2.5 second lead when he made his first and only pit stop on Lap 20. Hamilton stayed out until Lap 23, in an attempt to gain some ground and re-join the track in front, but his pace let him down.
Hamilton Blames The Circuit!
Although Hamilton appeared faster in the 2nd half of the race, he still couldn’t pass his teammate – a frustration that he blamed, in part, on the circuit,
“It is such a beautiful place but (it would be good) if there was some way to improve the track. We have these long straights but we can’t get close enough.” (Hamilton)
In the end all that separated the Mercedes teammates was 1.5 seconds. And Hamilton seemed genuinely happy for his teammate “It can be difficult for a new guy to acclimatise, to get used to different people, but Valtteri has done an exceptional job.”
Despite his season ‘slowing down’ Hamilton had already proved his worth with 9 wins and 11 poles, his closest rival Sebastian Vettel had 5 wins and 4 poles.
“It’s clear that something happens once you’ve won the championship. The energy has not been the same, even if I have approached the races the same…. You want to enjoy it. I do still try and turn up and do the job but it’s not so easy.” (Hamilton)
This is not a new problem; in 2015, when Hamilton had won his 3rd world title with 3 races to go – teammate Nico Rosberg beat him in all 3 remaining races. Certainly, maintaining the same momentum when you have achieved your goal is difficult, while at the same time other drivers still have something to prove - so their motivation remains strong. And as Hamilton explained he has been ‘celebrating a lot’.
After retiring early (his 6th this season) with a technical problem, Ricciardo suggested he might be ready for a move, “Talking to Red Bull is easier, because I know them already, the other two (Mercedes and Ferrari) I guess if they are interested they’ll need to make the approach.”
Today’s race was a relatively ‘action-free’ affair. Particularly dull and uneventful, according to Eddie Jordan “I feel sorry for the fans who have come here and spent fortunes…they’ve been mugged.”
But you can’t take anything away from Bottas’ thoroughly deserved win. He has certainly proved to Mercedes that they made the right decision in taking him on.
Winter has arrived in Formula One. The drivers have a well-earned rest, the teams work on the new cars, while the fans dream of March 2018.
Have a wonderful Christmas – see you next year!
Our next great adventure is at the iconic Monaco Grand Prix on the 27th May 2018, we hope to see you there.