Formula 1 celebrated the 10th edition of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2018, and it was the seventh time the UAE had hosted the season finale.
There, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton capped off his championship-winning season in incredible style – taking his 73rd win, his fourth in Abu Dhabi.
At lights out, polesitter Hamilton got a strong start – and led the pack into Turn 1 ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, who started from the front row, followed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen.
…with Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo duelling with Sauber’s Charles Leclerc for fifth, the Monégasque getting past into Turn 11.
… just as Haas’ Romain Grosjean made contact with the Renault of Nico Hülkenberg, forcing his car to dramatically roll over into the barrier, which brought out the safety car.
On Lap 7, two after the restart, Räikkönen stopped on the pit straight with engine issues – bringing out the Virtual Safety Car.
The following lap, Hamilton pitted from the lead for supersofts, dropping to fifth behind Bottas, Vettel, Ricciardo, and Verstappen up from 10th after a slow start as the Virtual Safety Car was stood down.
On Lap 16, Vettel pitted – hoping to undercut Bottas – but a slow stop, with a stuck right rear compromised his charge, dropping him to sixth.
Bottas pitted the next lap, dropping to fourth behind new leader Ricciardo, Verstappen, and Hamilton – Verstappen stopping on Lap 18, helping him to undercut his teammate Ricciardo.
From Lap 19, the threat of wet weather increased as Ricciardo held off from pitting, light rain arriving six laps later but not forcing anyone to pit.
On Lap 34, Ricciardo stopped, handing the lead back to Hamilton, but Bottas was in trouble - with a mistake the next lap letting Vettel by at the chicane for second, then fifth on Lap 39, after both Red Bull cars passed him on subsequent laps. The Finn pitting for ultras on Lap 41.
But it was Hamilton’s race, the Brit cruising to his 73rd career victory with a dominant performance from pole position.