F1 Winter Break
400 reasons to smile: Hamilton beats Vettel to Abu Dhabi F1 GP win
Posted By: Editor   |  25 Nov 2018   |  4:04 pm GMT  |  649 comments

Lewis Hamilton rounded off a sensational season for the Mercedes team by claiming his eleventh victory of the season and breaking the record for the most drivers’ championship points in a season.

Taking advantage of Mercedes’ decision to pit under a virtual safety car, Hamilton drove a measured race to resist the cars on fresher tyres, beating Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen to the Abu Dhabi win.

Equalling his personal best win haul set in 2014, the win also takes Hamilton’s 2018 points total to 408, breaking the record set by Vettel in 2013 and becoming the first man to surpass the 400-point mark.

Daniel Ricciardo pitted later than most and was given an aggressive final stint, but he was unable achieve his target of securing a podium in his 100th-and-last race for Red Bull.

Suffering from excess tyre wear, Valtteri Bottas was forced to make an additional pit stop and finished in a distant fifth place, whilst Carlos Sainz completed his final race for Renault as the ‘best of the rest’. His team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, however, crashed out on lap one after a scary barrel-roll, escaping unscathed.

Kimi Raikkonen’s final race for Ferrari ended in an early retirement after a complete power failure.

At lights out, Hamilton got the jump on Bottas to defend his lead into turn one, whilst the Ferraris held their positions just behind.

Daniel Ricciardo lost a position to Sauber’s Charles Leclerc in the second sector, whilst Max Verstappen had an awful start and fell to tenth.

The race was then put under safety car conditions after a frightening roll for Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.

With Hulkenberg racing against Haas’ Romain Grosjean into the turn eight-nine chicane, the Renault tried to pass Grosjean on the inside of turn eight.

With both cars taking a wider line, Grosjean held on around the outside of the corner to attempt a pass on the inside of nine.

However, Grosjean’s front-left wheel caught the right-rear of Hulkenberg’s, sending the Renault barrel-rolling into the barrier. The car landed upside down and Hulkenberg was unable to extract himself from the car.

With the car catching fire at the rear, the marshals reacted quickly to prevent the fire spreading, and the car was soon righted so Hulkenberg could free himself.

With the race restarting, Verstappen set about trying to recover lost ground, but was hampered by brief power unit issues.

Instead, he had to rely on cheekier overtakes into the turn seven hairpin, mostly racing against his Brazilian Grand Prix nemesis Esteban Ocon. This time, the pair just about managed to avoid each other as Verstappen bullishly made his way past the Force India.

The race was put under safety car conditions only a couple of laps later, however, when Kimi Raikkonen’s final race for Ferrari ended with a complete car shutdown on the start-finish straight.

With the race put under a virtual safety car, Hamilton, Leclerc and Grosjean all decided to pit for supersoft tyres and attempt to go to the end of the race.

The race resumed with Hamilton down in fifth, behind Bottas, Vettel, Ricciardo and Verstappen, and he immediately attempted to find his way past the Dutchman.

Out-driving and passing Verstappen into the first chicane, the Red Bull man then fought back into the second chicane to hold onto fourth place, and Hamilton was then forced to wait until the pit stops in order to reclaim positions.

With Vettel, Bottas then Verstappen all taking turns at pitting for supersoft tyres from laps 15-17, Ricciardo then inherited the lead, with Red Bull appearing to be trying a longer first stint with the Australian.

Bizarrely, the outside threat of rain was materialising, and the unlikely scenario of rain in the desert was occurring, although it wasn’t enough to hamper lap times too much.

Showing solid pace, and managing to keep the gap to Hamilton to no less than three seconds, Ricciardo pitted at the end of lap 33 for the supersoft tyres. He rejoined in fifth place and eight seconds behind his team-mate, albeit with much fresher tyres.

In the meantime, the gap between Bottas, Vettel and Verstappen had gradually reduced, and a mistake from Bottas gave Vettel the golden opportunity to take second place.

Bottas locked up into turn six and ran wide, compromising his run down the first long straight. Vettel gained a slipstream, attempted to pass down the first chicane before completing the move into the second chicane.

The Finn was then under pressure from Verstappen and, after rudely cutting the chicane in order to keep his position, was passed by the Red Bull into the tight turns of 11-12-13, with Verstappen forcing his way through.

Unable to cope with the fresher tyres on Ricciardo’s car, Bottas was then passed one lap later by the second Red Bull, which prompted Mercedes to pit him for a new set of ultrasofts.

Further ahead, Vettel was gradually chipping into Hamilton’s race lead, and was five seconds behind with ten laps to go. Verstappen was a further three seconds adrift of Vettel, and Ricciardo was another two seconds behind him.

With all four drivers matching each other lap for lap, there were to be no final duels in the closing moments of the race, and Hamilton was untroubled in taking his eleventh win of the season.

Vettel took second ahead of Verstappen, whilst Ricciardo finished just short of a farewell podium in his last race for Red Bull.

Bottas finished a distant fifth, Carlos Sainz ended his final race for Renault as the best of the midfield, with Sauber’s Charles Leclerc fending off Sergio Perez’s Force India for seventh. The Haas pairing of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished ninth and tenth.

In Fernando Alonso’s final race in Formula One, he was unable to quite catch up to the final points-paying position, and took a five-second time penalty for cutting the chicane in his efforts to close the gap. He finished in eleventh place, and cruised around in a formation cool-down lap along with fellow world champions Hamilton and Vettel.

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 2.581s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 12.706s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 15.379s
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 47.957s
6 Carlos Sainz Renault 72.548s
7 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 90.789s
8 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 91.275s
9 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1 Lap
12 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1 Lap
13 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1 Lap
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda DNF
17 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes DNF
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari DNF
19 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari DNF
20 Nico Hulkenberg Renault DNF

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

Who was your driver of the day in Abu Dhabi? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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my only wish is for murray walker to live long enough to see hamilton smash all records…. he thought hamilton couldn’t do it.


The problem with Bottas is he just doesn’t look after his tires. I hate that drivers have to do this but I think 2019 will be the same. Hamilton needs the help from Bottas for the WCC. Hamilton carried Mercedes this year even though one win was gifted Baku was not. Hamilton tends to avoid things on track. Why is that? Experience maybe?


There was a time when the general belief, erroneously, was that Rosberg was the ‘cerebral’ at Mercedes and LH was not the sharpest tool in the box. How time has now totally changed that perception. Martin Brundle on Sky F1 stated
“LH has it all; speed, starts, race craft, technical ability, patience, fitness and mind management”
What is now being bandied about is it’s all the car and very little to do with the driver; put anybody in that Mercedes and they would achieve as much as LH. This a spurious argument – one could therefore argue that if you put any driver in that Ferrari or Redbull, they would achieve as much as SV, KR, MV or DR


put anybody in that Mercedes and they would achieve as much as LH.

Yeah, that argument is stupid, I agree. If it was so, Bottas would have won the same amount of wins against Lewis. Rosbeg would have won same amount of championships as Lewis without even needing lady luck intervention.


Given where it was, the race actually was pretty good. Lewis with another Masterclass. Of course it’s all the car which is why Valteri is right behind him all the time… right? Oh wait, no he isn’t. Silly me, it’s because Valteri is absolutely hopeless and couldn’t drive a shopping cart up a supermarket aisle… right?

Driver of the day was Max. Another absoulutely superb drive. Had to laugh at the Ocon pass, I bet he loved that!

Hulk… NOT a good situation. His own fault and accidents happen but my god it took an age for anyone to do anything. The steward who stood there watching just feet away while the back of the car was on fire needs to be removed from his position immediately and forever.

A great season overall and one where Lewis really cemented his legend status. I think it might be the best season I’ve seen from any driver. I can’t think of any mistakes and he’s really pulled some incredible drives out of the bag and fully against the odds at times. Germany was my favourite.

All that said, I think driver of the season might be Leclerc. There’s a possibility that Seb is going to get a very very rude awakening next season.

Thanks to everyone (ok, MOST of you) for such great comments in here over the season. Already looking forward to next season very much.


If its all the car why did Hamilton get more than 50% of wins this year? OK one was gifted maybe.


@JDR, the way I see it, it’s simply because he’s one of the very very top F1 drivers of all time and has just delivered possibly the best, most complete season I’ve ever seen from anyone. With some very stiff opposition indeed.


The stewards looked sketchy at every incident this weekend to be honest. That’s what happens when they get drafted in once a year – very limited motor-racing in the region with which to build experience / confidence.

Agree that Lewis was supreme this season… and faultless too. Kind of irksome that he’s not wearing red 😉 Its hard to see how to avoid a replay next year…. Least favourite of his wins this year was Monza…. for obvious reasons.


@Redline, totally agree! They were terrible. Given what they may be required to do it’s just not acceptable that they may be second rate. But yes, given the lack of experience what can you do? But that one guy in particular did absolutely nothing with a car on fire mere feet away. VERY poor I thought.

As for Lewis, my god I would LOVE to see him in a Ferrari. I’m part Italian so 50% of me has that instinctual love of the team in Red, it’s just been impossible to get behind Seb as I really don’t like the guy. For that matter I’d really love to see Max in the Ferrari too.

But that said, Leclerc is going to be very interesting to watch next year and I’ll be a staunch supporter of him. If he gets a fair go at it Seb might get another rude awakening.


@The Exigency

What you said – plus 1.


@C63, thanks mate. And thanks for all your excellent work this season. Looking forward to more next year!


Everyone who made comments like ” *anyone* can win races in the Mercedes” should take note of Bottas final position. If the car was really that far ahead of the rest, then it should be a easy 1-2 for Mercedes in the championship.

I really do believe Lewis is one of the more skilled drivers on the current grid.


Someone should mod you up. There was hardly any difference between Ferrari and Mercedes for the past 2 years.

Managing tires is where Bottas fell short IMO.


Of course he is one of the more skilled drivers of the grid.

But this win was purely based on his pitstop under the VSC and the fact that the drop off wasn’t as big as expected.

Nothing more to it than that really.


Yeh…the car drove itself for the rest of the race.


Of course not but to say he had to drive his nuts off….nope.

He is very gifted. But some here give too much credit sometimes. As they do to other drivers..


LF, Doesn’t it just cement what everybody already knew….Bottas isn’t in the same league as Lewis (by far), but he’s not in the same league as the top half of the grid. His performance this season puts him even further back.
So why does he deserve that car…and why don’t we deserve to see someone capable of taking it to Lewis in that car?


First it was everyone, then their grandmothers, now their pets. Haters will execute any number of mental gymnastics to deny lewis his dues. Nothing new really.



As I’ve said before, it’s called pain management.

Unbearable for some.

Although, there is something called the power button on the tv remote control which they could easily press. But they are gluttons. Gluttons for punishment. Poor souls, these gluttons.

On to 2019. Maybe Toto will replace Bottas with Roscoe halfway thru the season. I heard he can win in that Merc.


they secretly enjoy that pain..


Not everyone. About 5 or 6 drivers. Bottas is clearly not one of those.


Anyone could win in the SF71H Ferrari….or about 5 or 6 drivers…..


No way. The Ferari is a dog of a car, and has been since 2008.

Only British journalists think it’s great, otherwise Lewis 4 titles with Mercedes look positively devalued.


Tim, nobody has provided any facts. All I have is opinion based on guesswork. If you have actual facts ie. Dyno and windtunnel figures, lets have them.

Otherwise we’ll just go with opinions and Sebee’s opinion is that Merc have been engineering championships becuase they have so much in hand that they could win it before Monza every year.


Actually Luke, Seb only denied that they had a dominant car this year, he also said that they had no horsepower disadvantage.


A*. Thanks for that factual interjection, Luke will ignore it of course, he has no interest in boring old facts…..



Here’s a bit from Aussie Journo Michael Lamonato. He was reflecting on how Ferrari lost the title

“But the size of Hamilton’s victory, two rounds before the end of the season, belies how close Sebastian Vettel ran him in the first half of the season.For so much of 2018 Ferrari had a car at least a match for, if not marginally quicker than Mercede….There’s no doubt Hamilton’s victory was hard earned, but it’s also fair to say that 2018 will be looked back upon as a season Vettel and Ferrari should’ve won, such was their momentum early in the year.That is, had Vettel’s string of errors not undermined his own title campaign.”



LOL – define dog (in this context).


Vettel vehemently denies that the 2018 Ferrari was better than the Merc.

So given such a plethora of wildly varying opinions on this matter, the only way to settle this is to have the Dyno figures for the Ferrari and Merc PUs. Also windtunnel figures will help.

Can anyone refer me to the journalist/s who have those, please?



Here’s an Italian journalist for you:

The media in Ferrari’s home nation of Italy declared following the race that the championship was over.

“Goodbye to the Vettel title,” La Gazzetta dello Sport wrote.

“It’s similar to last year, except even more sad now because Ferrari has had the best car. But not the best driver,” correspondent Umberto Zapelloni said.”


The 2018 Ferrari & Mercs cars were equally matched. Overall, equal on pace, but Vettel had the advantage of having far better mechanical reliability than Hamilton.

Only British Journos? What a stupid thing to say. Go check reputable German AMuS. They state Ferrari was actually quicker at marginally more tracks than Merc this year. Go listen to non-Brit Mika Hakkinen. Here’s his view
“Ferrari has the fastest car in Formula One at the moment, but Lewis Hamilton has a 30-point lead in the World Championship for Drivers. No one can say that Lewis is there because the Mercedes has a major advantage.”

And here’s what the Italian Journos think::

I’m not going to even comment on your childish “devalued comment”. You make yourself look silly,

You should learn how to give credit where credit is due.


Luke, do you have a link to an Australian journalist that thinks this years Ferrari is ‘a dog’?


Would have been an interesting race had Lewis it pitted under the VSC, took a potential battle away.

2019 is going to be very interesting for Max, until now he has free rain, never having to worry about the bigger picture, people give him a wide birth because they know he doesn’t care about points, just wants to win.

That will all change when there is a championship at stake, will be interesting to see how he approaches wheel to wheel action when he is the one also with something at stake.


hamilton is slowly training verstappen to look at the big picture more..


Great fights on track.. the way VER gave some racing lessons to Ocon was fantastic to see.
The way he fought back for his position after the bold ovetake from Ham was great to.
A pity the strategy by RB for RIC did not paid of. When he had 20 seconds lead they should have pitted him.
Great drive by HAM tot keep his tires working for so many laps. The new rims seems to work for Mercedes.
Terrible drive by Bottas.. if he continues like this he will be replaced during the first half of the season by Ocon.
2 Ferrari engines broke down, 1 renault and 1 Honda.. Mercedes did it with three engines all year.. nice work!


Not so sure. That redbull has WAY more traction and braking than the force india could ever dream of.


My final Vettel mistakes tally of the year:

Azerbaijan – Locked up when trying to overtake for the lead and dropped to fourth, when without it would almost certainly have won. Hamilton wins instead. Net points lost to Hamilton: 20

France – Takes out Bottas and comes home 5th, without it would probably have finished 3rd. Net points lost: 5; Cumulative net loss to Hamilton: 25

Austria: Given grid penalty for blocking in qualifying. Comes home third after Mercedes failures, when without the grid penalty could have won. Net points lost: 10; Cumulative net loss: 35

Germany: Crashes out of the lead. Hamilton wins. Net points lost: 32; Cumulative net loss: 67

Italy: Crashes into Hamilton on the first lap and spins, recovers to fourth. Pace was in the car for victory, demoting Hamilton to 2nd. Net points lost: 20; Cumulative net loss: 87

Japan: Mistake in qualifying puts him down the grid, he makes amends with a good opening few laps then throws it all away needlessly clashing with Verstappen when in a net third. Net points lost: 7; Cumulative net loss: 94

USA: Given grid penalty for failing to slow down sufficiently during red flag period. Should have started from 2nd, from where Kimi won the race, so a win was possible. Would have demoted Hamilton down to 4th, but one of the races with the widest amount of outcomes due to how the VSC shook things up. Net points lost: 16; Cumulative net loss: 110

There’s obviously subjectivity around all of this, and I think you can make an argument for 10-15-20 points either way (he was taken out by Verstappen in China for example, which probably cost him in the region of 10 or so points). Hamilton won by 88 points in the end, but you’d suspect Ferrari weren’t exactly pushing to the max from say Russia onwards, poor upgrade paths or not. What is pretty much undisputed is that Vettel’s errors cost him any shot of a championship he should have been fighting tooth and nail for, and robbed us all of an all time classic season instead of a fairly average one.


Good summary AM. The gap was also highlighted by the fact that Lewis had a virtually faultless year. I’m happy to say that he very much rose to the challenge. This is further evidenced by the fact that he stayed switched on after winning the title in Mexico…and closed out the year with 2 wins.
He has clearly learnt from what happened at the end of 2015 and early 16 when he allowed Rosberg 7 wins in a row…which in some way cemented Rosbergs self belief and proved too much to chase down (albeit with poor reliability).


“early 16 when he allowed Rosberg 7 wins in a row…”

No mention of Hamilton’s reliability issues that handed Rosberg a couple of those wins?


Exactly !!!


Arrivabene’s claim to Andrew Benson’s F1 conference question that Ferrari not still being in contention due to errors was just ‘opinion’, here are the numbers. Team & driver errors 74 points. Current deficit 81 points. So 7 points behind, 25 on offer. Not opinion at all.

That from Mark Hughes:

Some here are still trying to make the case that it was a foregone conclusion for Mercedes all along. The numbers simply are not with them.

So we’ve seen Hamilton beat Seb when the cars were even (2017), and when the Ferrari was slightly faster (2018). There is only a narrow space remaining between how much faster the Ferrari can get, before there would be a negligible chance of Hamilton again pulling it off. I really can’t see Seb having as bad a year mistakes wise as this year, nor Lewis having as good a year mistakes wise again. He simply hasn’t made any of note this season.


KRB, what’s truly amazing is the stats lewis is able to conjure while battle a slightly faster car. It’s as if he thrives under pressure… As mentioned by toto, there’s no one he’d want in the car when the going gets tough. Mental strength!! read up on it.


first of all – if someone counts team/drivers erros as 74 point then you have to remove that points from Merc and there will be another story

second – try to tell Merc’s team that thier car is slower then Ferrari


I see it differently, Ferrari has never been an equal competitor in the last years. It was a show perfectly controlled by Mercedes to maintain the fire. Nothing else. A cat and mouse play. Don’t try to prove otherwise, the intention is clear.


Alan, makes you wonder why they copped all that flak in Russia though doesn’t it? Or let Lewis limp home fourth in Mexico to win the title for that matter….



No one denies that Mercedes has had the better optimised power unit throughout this formula. Ferrari have made sizable gains not just in their power unit, but also in their car designs, to reduce that achievement with your dismissve remark is uncalled for. And seriously, if that is your view, why bother watching, after all Mercedes has had the best car and power unit package since 2014.


I don’t agree with your pace in the car comments. I would say last year the Mercedes was still the quicker car, not always and not a lot in it but overall still quicker. This year I would say they were pretty even. Ferrari started the year well but Mercedes has had the fastest car since Monza really and did at various other tracks earlier on. Certainly in qualifying anyway, Ferrari are strong in the races but as this year has shown starting on pole and leading the way is still more valuable than a slightly quicker car from further back. Only caveat is that Hamilton had no business taking pole at Singapore in the Mercedes, that lap was all him, one of the most awesome quali laps I have seen.

Agreed otherwise, I can’t think of any mistakes Hamilton has made off the top of my head, his team have made a couple of dubious strategy calls but have made some good ones too. Vettel made numerous mistakes. I think Germany hurt him a lot, it was a huge point swing to Hamilton, correct me if I’m wrong but was it not the SC or VSC for Vettels crash that put him in a position to take the lead, just adds to the pain. Interestingly on Sunday Vettel commented again on the Ferrari not being quick enough in qualifying and that his incedents wouldn’t have happened if he was on pole. We saw when he was winning at RB Vettel is at his most comfortable leading from the front, he is virtually unbeatable in this situation.


“Ferrari started the year well but Mercedes has had the fastest car since Monza “

Ferrari was fastest at Monza, Mexico & a match for Merc in Brazil


Darren, Usa, Mexico and Brazil. You think the Merc was quickest at those races?


It’s not surpriseingthere remains a portion of the fanbase that’ll twist facts in order to deny lewis’ brilliance. To do otherwise would crumble their already feeble psyche.

In years to come, no one will remember the nuances of 2018, only the statistic. And I for one, I’m ok with that.


All good work, but it was not to be.

I bet on it at the beginning of 2018.

The trend will go on. This Mercedes car is invincible.

2019 will be Hamilton again, thanks to a great car and an amazing wingman.

And that makes the championsheeps unworthy.

But that is fine, this thing is less important for Mercedes and ham’s fans.

I would have not cared if Vettel won either.


Alan, time for you to provide your list of the tracks where the Merc was fastest. I’ve asked lots of people to do this, but none of them have. How strange…..


Oh, and while we’re at it, the wingman stuff is silly. Hamilton won by 88 points – please feel free to show me the 88 points that Bottas gifted to Hamilton.


Seriously, do you have any idea what F1 is about?

Clue, it is not about drivers racing equal cars, it is about a team building the best car they can, piloted by the best driver they can get, backed up by the best support team they can put together.

Merc did an absolute brilliant job in all aspects. Ferrari were very good (even surpassing Merc) in some areas but failed in others.

That’s why Merc won and why they are the most worthy.


last time i checked, at the end of each race, drivers are paraded on the podium with the winning driver on the top step. the winning driver’s national anthem is played followed by the anthem of his team and all three drivers allowed to celebrate by spraying campaign in spectacular fashion. all drivers and their teams work hard for that moment. at the end of the season, the driver with the most points win the drivers’ championship and the team with the most points win the constructors championship. all teams want to win the drivers’ championship more than they want to win the constructors championship but i feel your pain. you enjoy the fact that hamilton is dominating so much so that you want to divert your attention to other less enjoyable topics. i get it.



Nailed it!!!


From a betting point of view, fine, if you said Hamilton was gonna win at the start of the season, he won. Congratulations. But how he won is important – he didn’t win because he had a dominant car like in 2014-15, he won because he got the most out of his car and Vettel didn’t. The races just don’t fit your analysis.

Vettel could have won this year. Not definitely, but certainly could have. The fact that he didn’t (and the fact that it wasn’t even close) is squarely on him.


how he wins is not as important as winning because hamilton set out to win so he did everything in his power, including closely guiding his engineers to provide him with the equipment to do so as well as drive cleanly, staying away from drivers who are fond of crashing.


What garbage. You will not see a more worthy champion than Hamilton’s season this year, in a VERY LONG time. He beat a 4x champion that had a quicker car than him for most of the season. In the end the drivers decided it, with the one making no errors beating the one that made a number of them. As it should be.


Ha haa! Mate, did Cyril really say that? Max? WOW!

I bet Danny Ric and Dame Edna and the bogans and the other more pleasant Austalians really loved that one.

Maybe they went after the wrong guy…



You need to stop asserting your narrative as a fact. Across the season the MB and Ferrari both had their strong points and on balance were pretty evenly matched (maybe with the exception of Ferrari’s development misstep after the summer break).
Just because there were races where Ferrari got their set up spot on, doesn’t mean that you can assert Ferrari was “the faster car” across the season. It’s like saying RB are the fastest car, because their set up suits Monaco.

I think it’s fair to say that on face value the cars were evenly matched, and i agree that the difference was the driver error factor.

However that is presuming that we saw everything from the Merc.
It could also be that Merc biggest “development step” has been to know when to release all the horses. They seems to have no trouble getting to the end of the season with only 3 donks.


You need to stop asserting your narrative as a fact.

Why? It is a fact! In the early season Ferrari had a great car, that was easy to throw at each track and get it right. They’ve been quickest at the majority of races. They also beat Mercedes at a few where I had Merc quicker (AUS, AUT) or it was too close to call (GBR).

I share the same belief as many pundits out there (Mark Hughes, Brundle, Hill, Benson, Herbert, Palmer, etc.) that Hamilton would’ve won this year in the Mercedes or the Ferrari.

It’s not often you see a year like Hamilton’s had this year. It’s not often that you’ll see a former driver pundit say something like this either, from Jolyon Palmer:

“Bottas is a good driver, and it highlights just how good Hamilton has been this year.

“I can’t think of a more impressive performance by any driver over the course of an entire season than this one from Hamilton.”


Honestly, I expect a perfect 250 score from the Team Principals poll, though oddly I saw Cyril Abitboul say Verstappen when Sky F1 put the question to him in Abu Dhabi. What?! Even Horner said Hamilton which surprised me … he always likes to big his own drivers up any chance he gets.

Anyways, I’ll keep with that narrative, because for me it’s the correct one. I wish it had been closer in the points standings this year, but I won’t let the final gap overwhelm what happened at each of the 21 races.


Total nonsense Alan, not one fact in there anywhere.


@TimW, being factual isn’t a prerequisite for commentary. 🙂


Charlie, you accused me on a previous thread of telling ‘multiple lies’. I thought such a strong accusation warranted some sort of explanation from you, and so I asked you for some examples of these lies that I’m supposed to have told, but I guess you didn’t see it. Either that or you simply aren’t man enough to back up your claims…..


Hmm, a CharlieW at 4 stars? Why not just use your real handle, and stand fully behind your slag off?


TimW is a perfect example of that himself.


Aside from Kimi’s win second half of the season was a big let down.


Too true Sy, Kimi’s win was the bright shining needle in a mercedes-benz haystack.

It was Ferrari’s last win, and may well remain their last win for some considerable time to come……..


Phil, you mean one of ten needles in that 21 race haystack?!


What a great season!

Records broken; 5th title for Lewis and Merc; Ferrari’s internal combustion; Seb’s internal implosion; Newey’s unbelievable chassis.

Ric’s incredible Monaco drive; Lewis’s unexpected Baku win; Lewis’s win from 14th in Germany. Seb’s win at Silverstone. Lewis’s “Singapole”; Kimi’s nostalgic win in Austin. Max’s repeat in Mexico. Lewis and Seb’s honour guard tribute to Alonso in Abu Dhabi.

Lewis eating 2 Ferraris for lunch at Monza; Max eating 2 Mercs for lunch and 2 Ferraris for dessert in Brazil; Ricciardo eating 2 Ferraris, 2 Mercs and a finishing it all off with 1 Redbull in an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

Lewis’s inclusion in the GOAT debate, Max’s ascent into the next-in-line realm; Leclerc’s promotion; Kimi’s demotion; Ricciardo’s switch to the team whose PU gave him so much grief this year; Fernando announcing his gardening leave (wink, wink); Kubica announcing his leave from gardening leave; Goodbye Force India; Hello Racing Point.

Mirrorgate; Wingmangate; Wheelhubgate; Scalegate; Colgate (or where has Danny Ric’s smile gone); And finally, Letmeshowyouthegate Vandoorne, Sirotkin, Hartley, Ocon and Ericsson.

Looking forward to 2019. New aero and new drivers. I hate the winter breaks.


Max should have stopped eating in Brazil when he got to Ocon, he got greedy.



He had indigestion after all that eating and Ocon’s car looked like a bottle of Pepto-bismol.


😂 That’s what Stroll Snr will be suffering from next year. When his has to replace his Son in 2021 for Kimi 😉


that’ll be interesting, i’m sure.


@FanF1 Sir, your use of puns and wordplay should be a crime punishable by death. Too good for human consumption. 😀 😀 As usual, you’ve brought sizable chuckle to this old man 😀



Well said 🙂





Absolutely brilliant!


Great post mate!


An excellent summary! I really hope Honda can pull something out of the bag as that Red Bull chassis is undoubtably the class of the field. The last few races have been very enjoyable with 6 cars duelling for the win, it’s a shame the others are so unbelievably far behind them.

I don’t know how much difference next years regs will make. We’ve been through all this before in the early 00s making the wings / barge boards narrower / simpler / higher / wider / more complicated and it didn’t make one bit of difference to the overtaking. They continue to avoid the elephant in the room in that topside generated downforce (i.e. wings) are always going to be affected by wake and be a hinderance to overtaking, whereas ground effects are not (or are at least less affected). But because they were banned for creating dangerous cars back in the 80s, when the cars incidentally were still made of aluminium with similar properties to newspaper, and fuel.

Regarding the drivers, other than Ocon, who will surely find himself in a Mercedes unless Bottas pulls his socks up, the rest of them deserve to lose their seats unfortunately. They just haven’t shown enough potential. Vandoorne was always in a difficult place against Alonso but I’m sorry if you are good enough to be in a Mclaren then you need to be competitive with a driver like Alonso. Sirotkin hasn’t shown any kind of potential, perhaps difficult in a terrible Williams chassis but Stroll shouldn’t take much beating. Ericsson has had long enough and while a solid driver hasn’t shown any brilliance. Hartley has upped his game towards the end of the season and started competing with Gasley but was poor earlier on. I’m not overly impressed with Gasley either but he did have a few freak kind of results earlier in the year and that’s what you need to have to progress, Hartley hasn’t managed that. There’s no place for steady and dependable anymore, the standard is too high. Grosjean and Magnussen would be on borrowed time it was up to me too.


You sir deserve the prize for “comment of the year”

Spot on to the word!


Nicely put FanF1 👏👏


Back half teams should use more the two cars opposition strategy.


40 seconds.

That’s how long it took to get marshals with fire extinguishers to the scene, and there wasn’t a real fire this time around. Just a small one. Imagine what this would be like if the fuel tank got punctured?

If this was a real fire ball I think 40 seconds is enough time to kill a driver, right Halo? Lack or air. Smoke. Marshals not able to get close to a larger fire. Halo trapping driver inside. It will be really good for Formula 1 when a driver is killed by the halo in an inverted car fire, won’t it?


f1 fuel tanks don’t get punctured.


The suits are designed to last 30 to 40 seconds before the wearer suffers second degree burns. But as you say, a full tank on fire will definitely kill a driver if he is trapped in it for a 40 seconds+ duration as he will endure full body 2nd -> 1st degree burns throughout. Also we only saw one marshal for the first many seconds upon his arrival at the scene, he was hesitant and his single extinguisher would not be enough if it had been a full tank going up in flames. I am shocked how slow and passive they all were.


f1 fuel tanks don’t catch fire.


Yep…the pack had all passed and an age seemed to go by before first on the scene were the medical car doctors!

It’s different to the old days but they also have the electrics and battery fire issues now.

40s would be too long for Berger…



Yes and not. I see your point but even Hulk who is not an halo fun said that it he was not to get out period from a car in that position halo or not. It is quite concerning though that marshals took so long to get there and that they seem not on top of the situation… that is what can be a real issue. I am after all in favor of more protection to the drivers and they are the ones that they should decide on what. Procedures are not smoothly in place that is for sure.


Me and thee agree Sebee.


F1 needs to think about how it is being presented around the world. We had the 1 hour edited package here in Australia and after Kimi stopped on lap 8 we went straight to an ad break and came back after the ad at lap 45! Quite a jump.

The sad thing is even cut down to a 1 hour package (actually 45 mins once you remove the ads) the race was still pretty boring.


@Simon, you’re aware streaming is a thing, right? Might not be ‘legal’ but as a fan, it’s your obligation! 😉


I hate to say it, but Bottas has been extremely poor this season. If it were me, I’d be sticking Ocon in that seat for 2019 if only to destablilise Max Verstappen a bit.

Bottas has rarely been in a position to steal points from Ferrari, and if Ferrari and Vettel hadn’t had another late season implosion again, his poor performance could have been a critical factor. Mercedes need to keep their eyes on the horizon, looking for a potential successor for Hamilton. Both Ferrari and Red Bull seem to have strong talent coming though, Mercedes need to ensure they have robust talent for the next decade.


People are being far to critical of bottas. He’s doing exactly what he’s hired to do – consistent, relatively error free and nonpolitical. A welcome change from the inhospitable environment with rosberg. The real issue lies with fans mistakenly underestimating lewis’ ability in that car. The unexpected and borderline improbable poles, supreme racecraft/ race pace – immunity to climatic conditions and the innate ability to rise to any challenge. Many past champions have shown these traits in one degree or another but not to this magnitude. Lewis is truly complete and the scary thought is – he might still have another gear. 🙂


Errrr…Ocon? Russell? That’s pretty “Robust”


I’d stick Alonso in that seat. Then Dan Ric, then plenty of others before Ocon got a chance…

Why didn’t he even get a seat at either Williams Mercedes, that says a lot.


Clarks. Williams offered Ocon a seat, but he turned it down because they wanted a driver to commit to them for the longvterm, and Esteban has a drive in place for 2020 already…



Merc just won the WDC and WWC for the 5th time. Bottas’s performance was not essential to their success, only his support. Besides, more points just means more money to be paid to F1 as entry fees, which I believe are based on points from the previous season.

Merc just needs Lewis and another average driver to achieve their annual goals, which is and always will be the double. Nothing more, nothing less.


@FanF1 : no way. Merc will pay every dollar smiling.


Stunning how Max can play bumper cars and yet be given a clean chit by the stewards. If Kimi tried that it would be off to a penalty for him.

Max might be the second coming of Micky S, but his penchant for rash driving, combined with his predisposition to violence is not healthy.


When you look objectively at Ver, (wonder who can really be objective though), you can’t but admit that he is one of the few drivers who can make a race exciting to watch. We are not here to see another donkey parade, we want to see battles for positions or race wins.


I honestly think it’s downright sad if F1 fans don’t appreciate a move like the one he pulled off against Bottas. To me that’s ‘innovation’, instinct and pure skill. I get it that he’s not liked very much off the track, but I feel that this dislike is affecting people’s analysis and perception of what happens on the track.

It’s like Federer fanboys not liking Djokovic’s skills (saying it’s boring) and vice versa, with the result being that a lot of beautiful things on court are simply missed or not appreciated.


That tennis analogy was completely lost on me. Wrong class.
I agree what you said about VER though. I commented some time ago that the same “people” seem to be condemning VER that have been condemning Lewis for the last 7 or 8 years. I really wouldn’t worry about it. Just like Lewis has done VER will keep shoving it down their throats with his driving. An absolutely fantastic driver BUT badly needs to lose those rough edges to reach his potential.


It really is tragic F1 has Abu Dhabi for the season finale because of $$$. The track layout just doesn’t promote good racing. Very boring race between the top cars.

Shame Kimi retired in his last race for Ferrari but good effort to finish 3rd in the championship despite 4 DNFs.

Another lacklustre race for Bottas, he’s really quite lucky to keep his seat for next season IMO.


NickH, I didn’t think it was that bad by Ab Dab standards, but was still pretty dull. Apparently it’s a great race to attend, but that doesn’t mean much to us at home. Maybe they could reprofile some of the chicanes to give it a more flowing character, a bit like they need to do in Mexico? Either way Brazil should still be the finale.


Nick, I posted an almost identical comment way down below..


It is the worst track ever.

Sector 3 is a complete joke.

It says it all when a new orange sausage kerb becomes the tracks most interesting feature…$$$$$


All these comments and no one yet pointed out that there were 2 fewer races in 2013 when the previous 400+ point record was set?

And yet those 4 years of RBR “domination” winning races and poles around the 50% mark over that 4 season period is nothing compared to the PU Era 5 season Mercedes 74% win and 84% pole record.

That’s right, over the past 5 years and 100 PU Era races, non-Mercedes was on pole only 16 times and non-Mercedes won only 24 races. WOW! Never before. Go competitive PU Era! And that’s with 2 seasons of MMC too…2017 and 2018.


All these comments and no one yet pointed out that there were 2 fewer races in 2013 when the previous 400+ point record was set?

All this moaning about domination and no one has yet pointed out that in that season you mention when there were two fewer races, your beloved Seb matched the record for most wins in a season. Two more than Lewis has ever managed with two fewer races…

Shame huh?



Don’t you ever stop moaning ?


It’s called facts actually. Have you read the comment? It states facts of what happened.



MMC is a conspiracy theory. It is not a fact but a figment of your and other’s imaginations.

Please let us not confuse that fact.


Sebee never stops moaning is a fact.


74% win record is a fact.

84% pole record is a fact.

Most dominant era in F1 history is a fact.

2 fewer races in 2013 is a fact.

RBR’s competing teams shifting focus to 2014 car mid way in 2013 is a fact.

MMC is a theory, but fits perfectly into actions and outcomes.

If your local politician or government tell you they have your interest in mind, while clearly acting in their own interest and I tell you that this is what is happening – will you believe their words/statements or their actions and outcomes?


I thought you liked moaners? ;o)


Lol … was waiting for you to spout off on this.

Do you recall saying that Rosberg scored more points than Hamilton in any season, with his 385 from 2016? Hmm, you were quite pleased to note that stat then!

There was no previous 400+ pts record.

Lastly, the previous record was done in a walkover season, with a dominant car against no in house opposition. Hamilton this year has won a handful of races he had no right winning, and beat a 4x champion sat in a better car!!!



“beat a 4x champion sat in a better car!!!”

This ^^^^^!

There is no better tribute to what Hamilton has achieved this year.


Oh my goodness KRB, you’re defending this?

50 more points on the table and a win handed to Lewis. Let’s not be too proud of this one. It’s an “oh by the way” thing. Nothing to hang your hat on.


alonso found out about the car being dominant back in 2007, didn’t he?


i am proud of that one sebee..hamilton was able negotiate the raging vettel after the team put him back behind vettel. vettel was willing to paint the wall in hamilton but the most intelligent driver of all time was able to avoid him with such a sublime escape route only to pass him with, evoking so much emotion in the team principal that he used team orders to grant the win. i am more than proud of that one..


Jumping to conclusions again Sebee! I am not defending it. I fully realize that the number of races, and the change in points systems, make such comparisons faulty.

What I’m pointing out is your hypocrisy in previously stating “Rosberg scored more points in a season than Hamilton ever has”, and now complaining that doing so is unfair. That’s all.


Sebee, you’re the theorist, you tell me. I’m going with none.


TimW – one that you know of that happened in clear view.

How many have they taken away potentially with strategy, or not giving Bottas the engine modes to win?


Sebee, a win, not wins.


Even without the Russian win he’d be on 401 points.

Again, please comprehend this sentence:

I fully realize that the number of races, and the change in points systems, make such comparisons faulty.

This year’s Merc was not all conquering, like 2014-16. The W09 was actually the second best car to be in, over this season.

As for 2008, you know what you need to do. You need to provide an example of sporting law where an event, fully run, has been entirely thrown out, or cut down to some arbitrary end point, without a rule or regulation in place beforehand to do so. It’s a simple request … yet it’s going on 4 years now since I first asked you for it.


Yeah. Wasn’t that funny? Still is.

Lewis gets a wingman team mate who’s made to give up wins and we’re talking about this? You’re defending how this is a achievement? OK…wonderful. I’m super impressed this happened for a driver on the most dominant car over a 5 season stretch in history of F1. Glad you see it as such an achievement.

Come on KRB, let’s get back to talking about 2008 and how it includes a totally fraudulent race result that impacts the WDC outcome.



MMC didn’t give the points to Hamilton. Vettel did. No amount of spin can change that. He did the same in 2017.

Hamilton reached 400 points because of Vettel’s and Ferrari’s incompetence. No MMC needed.


Sebee, those dominating seasons are gone, the percentages this year are nothing like they were in 14,15 and 16. But you don’t care about that, you only care about slagging off the sport.

Is it time for you to let it go yet? For hoe many years will you continue to watch and dedicate so much of your time to something that you clearly hate so much? The PUs aren’t going anywhere, Mercedes aren’t going anywhere, this is how the sport is now, and will remain for the foreseeable future, if you don’t like it you have a choice.


Because Sebee is fond of these stats, I’ve listed the relevant stats for the two seasons (VET 2013 vs HAM 2018).

Win percentage:
2013 – 68.4%
2018 – 52.4%

Podium percentage:
2013 – 84.2%
2018 – 81.0%

Laps led percentage:
2013 – 60.5% (next most was 9.2%!)
2018 – 36.2% (next at 27.3%)

Podiums by car (top 3):
2013 – RBR 24, Lotus 14, SF 10
2018 – Merc 25, SF 24, RBR 13

Pts Margin over 2nd (WDC):
2013 – 64.0%
2018 – 27.5%

Pts Margin over 2nd (WCC):
2013 – 65.6%
2018 – 14.7%

Pretty clear that the RB was head and shoulders better than anything else in 2013, while Mercedes this year had more competition all ’round. That’s including all the errors from Seb too … absent even half of those, the numbers would have been super tight this year. It was only somewhere around Italy or Singapore where Hamilton first moved ahead of Seb in terms of laps led this season.



Absolutely superb post mate. Really.

Makes all the “most dominant car in the history of the world ever” talk from the blinkered numpty haters look even more stupid. Not that it will stop them. But hey, I guess they need to lash out somewhere…



Oh no you didn’t!

You are a very, very, very bad man, Mr. KRB. Using facts and stats like that.

The Newey rocket was something special, wasn’t it.? Or is it “The Newey special was something of a rocket, wasn’t it?” I could never remember. All I knew was that special rocket dominated like no other since Rory Byrne’s own dominant special rockets at Bennetton and Ferrari.


Thanks KRB. Appreciate the stats to prove how well MMC is executed 2018. Can you do same for 2017 please?

Are you watching this at all with some analytical thought? Mercedes kill it in testing go to Australia and give up first races? Weird calls into pits? 2018 pole times matching 2017 levels like their car has stood still? They keep fumbling esrly on to spit a lead but stay in touch early on to build viewer hope of actual competition and then put the pedal to the metal after summer break? You don’t even find a hint of this unusal? Even though you’ve seen the story run twice in a row now?


only the most intelligent driver of all time make that possible..


You’re nuts.

If there was an MMC, why would they order Bottas to give up the win late in the season, if it’s all secretly in hand? Did they know beforehand that Ferrari would go up a blind alley from Singapore to Russia? Did they know it would rain in Germany and Hungary, and so they could let Ferrari look quicker there?

Geezus, are Ferrari in on it all too?


The post British Gp tire change propelled an already strong chassis into nigh on unbeatable. Seb dominated the remaining races in 2013. Only fall face first in 2014.



Have you no mercy? Don’t feed the gluttons!


At the time I predicted RBR would fall face down in these complex engine regulations era and said it made total sense for them to do what they did and keep developing the is V8 car when all others gave up hope and moved to their PU car development. That’s why RBR dominated that final stretch of decent sounding F1 cars.


2013, that was the most dominant RB year. Wasn’t that when he won 9 in a row?

2010 and 2012 though.. he would’ve wrapped up those titles much earlier if not for those fragile alternators.


Was it alternators in 2010? I know he, then Grosjean, lost the Euro GP in ’12 because of them.


Thank you for pointing out how great a driver Kimi truly is compared to mediocre Bottas? ;o)

(Kimi fan)


Bang on Tim. It’s even more amusing when you take into account he drives an electric car. As I said to him on another thread, he’s more than happy to embrace change in his personal life, just not in F1!


So far my predictions have been spot on…This is what is going to happen at end of 2019.
Vettel has just one more year at Ferrari to win the WDC. If he throws it away again next year, they will terminate his contract for 2020 and bring in Verstappen.

Vettel might move back to Redbull now that they have a clear vaccum in their pipeline for young drivers. The likes of Gasly is overrated. The real good ones to watch out for in the next generation are Verstappen, Leclerc and Ocon ( Pity he is not driving next season, but guaranteed a Merc drive in 2020 after Bottas’s contract expires)


Agreed !!!


“When he was upside down he was not able to extricate himself, i’ve been upside down and with the roll hoop you could crawl out between the gap and the cockpit sides where there was enough room. I just don’t see that with the halo on. I think it’s a more difficult thing to do.

He’s alright and protected but he can’t get out. So there may be a few questions about that one. They had to turn the car on its wheels and it’s got a very powerfully charged battery on their too – although the marshals did have rubber gloves, but even so it’s a hefty old thing to get back down to the ground so he can get out.

The hope is that the organisation is slick enough on the scene to put out anything like that. I wouldn’t want that put all to the test frankly.” Damon Hill


Lewis’s season, and a race won without ever having to make a pass or defend. Maybe he would have had a longer scrap with Max if he hadn’t been playing the long game and minding the tyres. Pirelli have had their contract extended and no-doubt they will be told to keep making the same tyres – the FIA and Liberty want two stop races, but when the super-soft is can be made to last the whole race without being a slower to the tune of more than a pit-stop something is wrong.

To get 2 stops it needs

a) bigger gap so it isn’t possible for the top 10 to start on the middle tyre

b) Combined life of softest + middle can’t be a whole race distance

c) Hardest too slow to use for 2/3 of the race.

I think one can make a tyres that last 1/3, 1/2 and 2/3 of the race. And the pace choosing a medium and two stints on the softest should beat soft+hard, or very careful soft+medium driving.

RIC when nearly far enough to change from the middle tyre to the softest for the last few laps but had fallen too far behind VER and VET to make a fight of it. and didn’t have enough a tyre offset. HAM on the other had stopped too early but the penalty for tyre conservation was so small he made it work.

My dislike of the Halo was reinforced by Hulkenberg having such trouble getting out and worries of fire…

11 races to Lewis, and there are always races which a driver should win but doesn’t and shouldn’t but does … this year he inherited Azerbaijan after Bottas’ bad luck with the puncture (making up for losing it with an unsecured head rest last year), Germany after Vettel drove of the road (making up for not winning at Silverstone after Kimi took him out), and Brazil after the Verstappen / Ocon incident. Not to mention Russia and Bottas playing the team game so well.

Ferrari and Vettel should have done better, like last year. Replacing Kimi who with Leclerc might see the Reds even more prone to implode next year. So I can us getting to the end of next year and saying that Max has made some good moves having been out of position following an error or bad luck, but not really having the engine to challenge, Ferrari looked like making a fight of it only to fall away and Lewis continues to carry all before him. I think the only thing which will be different is Bottas probably won’t get another season in Mercedes. I don’t see Seb or Max moving (possibly after 5 years Seb and Ferrari will part ways, but I don’t see Merc offering him a seat, so where would he go, and who else would Ferrari want ? Lewis won’t go there. and I think Max is locked into Red Bull. So driver stability at those two teams). Other predictions. Renault nearer to the front but not quite a front runner. McLaren continue to act like a top 3 team and perform like a bottom 3 one. Williams doing better but not threatening the podium.


Bottas was lucky in baku. The vsc put him into contention as he was well behind lewis and sebastian, their combined lockups gifted him the lead. Then debris took it away.

Lewis missed out wins in australia, austria and potentially US and Great Britain.


red bull have chosen to join mclaren and williams at the very tail end…


Because they both have Honda engines? Oh wait…


Interesting to see how many years Kimi will be the latest Ferrari champion after his departure.


Tifosi will all have long grey beards before a new champ comes along..


Duuude..i was 32 when Kimi became champion. My beard is already greying…i fer i may be in my 50s before i see another Ferrari DWC!


A foretaste of next year.


Highlight for me was Seb and Lewis ‘escorting’ Fernando around the cool down lap and then the three of them doing donughts in front of the main grandstand. Great stuff!

Lovely interaction between the top three in the cool down room and the press conference. Max is beginning to be quite the banterist nowadays.

Congrats to Lewis, if Merc give him even a half decent car next year he’ll be red hit favourite to win no6


Well said !!!


Next year it will be Leclerc vs Hamilton for WDC. Vettel on their heals with Bottas behind them. Ferrari to win the Constructors and Red Bull again pushing toward the podium at the end of the year as they get things right with Honda. The only genuinely unpredictable player in the field is Renault. 4th this year and climbing as did the Mercs. To those that celebrate it, have a Merry Xmas you all.


Merry Xmas to you and your daughter Lucia.
Buy her a Helmet and Gloves … 😉👍

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