While the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix featured a number of interesting and exciting storylines, the race at the front was hardly one of them. With a dominant pole position and a dominant run at the front, the 2018 season champion Lewis Hamilton continued his victorious ways.
With a conservative one-stop strategy having Hamilton pit during an early virtual safety car segment, he ran the longest second-stint length of anyone to cross the line more than 2.5 seconds ahead of closest title rival Vettel.
It was a dominant exclamation point on a dominant season for Hamilton.
The opening lap was interrupted by a nasty crash that saw Nico Hulkenberg go for a barrel roll that ended with his car upside down, him sandwiched between the car and the wall “hanging like a cow”, and the car briefly on fire. Luckily the marshalls were quick to act and Hulkenberg was extricated without issue or injury.
Wheel-to-wheel contact in F1 can easily send cars ass-end-over-teakettle like this in a flash. There’s not much blame to be placed here, it was simply a racing incident. The car, and by extension the roll halo, did its job.
In second place, Vettel similarly had no real issues fighting for position. He finished a comfortable second, well ahead of the Red Bulls. This race seems like a condensed version of the entire season, now that I think about it.
Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen suffered an engine failure in his final race for the Scuderia. His car quit on the front straight, causing that VSC that led Hamilton to pit on lap 7.
While both Red Bull drivers received notifications that their engines were in critical condition, the notice soon went away and the team determined it was a fault. In the end it would be Max Verstappen taking the final step of the podium, denying fans one final podium shoey from Daniel Ricciardo, who finished just behind in fourth.
Twice champion Fernando Alonso ended his F1 career in 11th, netting zero points. He’s scored 1899 career points, and it would have been cool to see him finish in 10th to grab that one to make it an even 1900, but alas he was beat to the flag by both Haas entries...
In all, it was a largely uneventful Grand Prix with absolutely zero championship implication, being that Hamilton settled that what feels like ages ago. Bring on 2019!