Abu Dhabi 'doesn't suit' F1 cars — Hamilton

NO LOVE LOST Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel promised a competitive 2018 season as they eye a fifth world title. AFP

In the last sector you just can't follow.

After trailing Hamilton throughout practice in Abu Dhabi, Bottas was able to respond in qualifying and claim the fourth pole position of his F1 career, aided by a mistake by his teammate at the very end of the session. I am so happy.

Hamilton stayed out for three further laps, clocking the fastest lap in the process, but couldn't make up enough ground and rejoined behind Bottas.

The Briton scored points in every race of the season, underlining his dominance this year.

Vettel improved to third, with a 1:38.174 that was 0.017 of a second slower than his teammate.

And he celebrated that achievement, his third success since joining Mercedes from McLaren, by jetting to Miami, the Caribbean and Peru.

Since the race's inauguration in Abu Dhabi for the now traditional - and spectacular - denouement to the calendar, Hamilton has won on Yas Marina on three separate occasions including last year's contest. But as Hamilton closed in on his teammate's gearbox, he once again came up against a wall of turbulent air from the Mercedes in front that prevented him from getting close enough to fashion an overtake.

The driver was in intensive care for a week, at one stage in critical condition.

"It's impossible to pass here man!" he said. All 20 drivers were using the ultras. "They ve got to change this track".

Hamilton's relationship with this year's team-mate, Bottas, appears to be far less contentious. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel will start in third at Yas Marina. Lance Stroll, meanwhile, produced a fine late lap to put himself in the second phase.

In a race which is unlikely to live long in the memory, Daniel Ricciardo retired on lap 21 following a hydraulic failure, costing him fourth place in the championship -with Kimi Raikkonen the beneficiary - while Carlos Sainz also failed to reach the flag after his front-left tyre fell off following a pit-stop gaffe by his Renault team.

He does not have to lead this time around, though that would be a bonus, but gaining one position will boost his chances of a sixth win in 2017 massively.

"And even then they have massive run-off areas and you can still keep it on".

"But can I apply that to the first half?"

When Valtteri Bottas won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday night, his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton jumped out of his car and rushed over to hug the Finn and congratulate him on his victory.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 109 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Centigrade).

Hamilton scored 363 to finish top in the final drivers standings ahead of Vettel on 317, Bottas on 305 and Raikkonen on 205.

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