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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Abu Dhabi GP talking points: Nico Hulkenberg flips out, Lewis Hamilton doubles up as Will Smith's tour guide

Fernando Alonso says goodbye to F1. Or has he?

Mercedes-GP driver driver Lewis Hamilton, left, poses for a selfie with Hollywood actor Will Smith before Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit. Hamilton went on to win the race. AFP
Mercedes-GP driver driver Lewis Hamilton, left, poses for a selfie with Hollywood actor Will Smith before Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit. Hamilton went on to win the race. AFP

The Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix may have lasted only 40 seconds for Nico Hulkenberg but it will go down as one of the most memorable short races of the his career.

Hulkenberg's Renault collided with Romain Grosjean's Haas at Turn 9 on the opening lap, with the impact throwing German's car into a somersault that ended with it wedged upside down against the barriers.

He was taken to the medical centre at Yas Marina Circuit for a precautionary check up, but he was found to have suffered no injuries.

Hulkenberg did not blame the incident on Grosjean, with the stewards sharing that verdict with no sanction against the Frenchman, who went on to finish ninth.

"I think we have to put it down as a racing incident,” Hulkenberg said. “Racing Romain into Turn 8 – we both locked up, I went wide, he went even wider so I thought he ran off the track and I had Turn 9 to myself that’s why I went for the apex.

“But obviously he was still there and wheels made contact and the rest we’ve seen – just a couple of flips, which obviously look spectacular but nothing really dramatic.”

Hulkenberg praised the quick work of the marshals for helping him out of the car promptly.

“I was just sitting tight waiting for the marshals and they reacted very quickly and got me out,” he said.

There was some consolation for Renault as Carlos Sainz finished sixth, a result that secured the team fourth place in the constructors' championship.

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Read more:

Abu Dhabi GP: Lewis Hamilton sends ominous warning to rivals ahead of 2019

Red Bull's Max Verstappen proves at Abu Dhabi GP why he is one to watch

Lewis Hamilton wins Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina: As it happened

Ericsson: F1 exit after UAE leads to 'exciting' new chapter with IndyCar

Read back: How the rest of the weekend unfolded

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Lewis Hamilton entertains Will Smith

World champion Lewis Hamilton has proved so good at winning races he was able to mix driving in Abu Dhabi with playing tour guide to his friend Will Smith, the Hollywood actor.

Smith was in the UAE with his son Jaden for the race, and Hamilton said that entertaining Smith, as well as other commercial activities, had made for a busier weekend then usual.

"It's been an unconventional weekend," Hamilton said. "Yesterday morning I was filming something with Fifa and Sony, and then this morning doing stuff with Will.

"Will is the original 'hype man'. He's hype. He creates a lot of energy. He's like a big brother to me, so we were doing some filming and stuff which was literally 10 minutes before we got in the car.

"We were doing some fun filming, which I never ever do because that's usually the period of time where I get ready.

"So I was a little bit, going into the race, like, 'Jeez, I've completely changed my pattern', if there is a usual relaxing period.

"But I got a great start and then after it was really standard.”

Fernando Alonso coy on future

Fernando Alonso has enjoyed his final weekend of 2018 and the Spaniard hinted after the race that he might not be done with Formula One after all.

Yas Marina Circuit has been the scene of a number of tributes to the double world champion, with the F1 paddock holding a party in his honour on Saturday.

There was no points scoring farewell for the Spaniard as he finished 11th in his McLaren. The 37 year old said he wants to complete motorsport’s triple crown of winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hours and the Indianapolis 500 in the United States.

“I need different challenges. I want to fight for the triple crown," said Alonso, who has already won Le Mans and Monaco.

"Maybe for 2020 I will feel the need to do a full calendar for something, Indy Car or F1. Maybe I will come back or maybe I will not want to come back."

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Read more:

Fernando Alonso bids adios to F1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but his career serves as a cautionary tale