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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as it happened: Bottas wins ahead of Mercedes teammate Hamilton

Keep up to date with all the action from Yas Marina Circuit

Graham Caygill and John McAuley are track-side at the Yas Marina Circuit and will be providing regular updates from all the action at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Make sure to refresh your browser to receive the latest updates.

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8pm: As the sun sets, quite literally, on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the Formula One season, scroll through the best pictures from the Yas Marina Circuit above.

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7pm: Winner Bottas, runner-up Hamilton and third-placed Vettel are on the podium. Here are their reactions...

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Laps 55-55: Valtteri Bottas wins the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes-GP teammate Lewis Hamilton on his way to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP
Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes-GP teammate Lewis Hamilton on his way to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP

6.35pm: Here is a quick round-up from the final race of the F1 season:

Valtteri Bottas won the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to head Mercedes-GPโ€™s fourth one-two finish of the season, beating world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton to the chequered flag at Yas Marina Circuit.

Bottas controlled the race from the front after converting pole position at the start, and although he came under pressure from Hamilton after both made their pit stops, he kept his composure to win by 3.8 seconds.

Sebastian Vettelโ€™s Ferrari was a lonely third as he was unable to match the pace of the Mercedes duo.

The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen held off Red Bull Racingโ€™s Max Verstappen for fourth place, though the Finn only inherited the spot after hydraulic problems had forced Daniel Ricciardo to retire his Red Bull from the race.

Nico Hulkenberg was best of the rest in sixth for Renault, the result also getting the French marque sixth in the constructorsโ€™ championship at the expense of Toro Rosso.

The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were seventh and eighth, ahead of the McLaren of Fernando Alonso and Williams of Felipe Massa, who finished in the points in the final race of his career before retiring.

Carlos Sainz Jr was the only driver not to finish the race as his front left tyre was not fitted correctly at his pit stop by his Renault team and came loose.

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Laps 45-50: Hamilton applies the pressure

6.30pm: Five laps to go and Hamilton is right on Bottas after the Finn makes a small error at Turn 6 and his teammate closes to within 0.5 seconds.

Order: Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Hulkenberg.

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Laps 40-45: Bottas and Massa on target

6.25pm: The gap is still under two seconds at the front, but it is hard to see Hamilton risking team harmony by making a late dive on the inside of Bottas at the end of the long straights. Ten laps to go and the Finn can start picturing his third win in F1.

Massa is 10th and the last of the unlapped drivers. He is on target to retire from F1 with a points finish.

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Laps 35-40: In the bag for Bottas?

Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters
Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters

6.15pm: Barring mechanical problems, Bottas looks as if he has this in the bag. He is 1.4 seconds ahead of teammate Hamilton, who looks content to finish his championship-winning season with second. It will be the first Mercedes one-two finish since the Italian Grand Prix in September.

Race order: Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Hulkenberg.

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Laps 30-35: Sainz Jr retires

6.05pm: We have a second retirement. Carlos Sainz Jr forced to stop his Renault after his front left tyre is not attached properly at his pit stop. He does a great job to avoid crashing in the pit lane tunnel as he wrestles with the car.

Running wide at Turn 17 on Lap 30 has killed Hamilton's momentum. Bottas now appears to have him under control again, with the gap at 1.7 seconds again.

Top 6 is Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Hulkenberg.

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Laps 25-30: Hamilton gives chase

Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters
Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters

6pm: It looks like Hamilton has woken up. He is pushing Bottas hard, possibly too hard as he runs wide at Turn 17 as he tries to close in on the Finn. The gap was down to less than a second, but that error has got it back up to 1.4 seconds.

Top six: Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ocon

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Ricciardo retires!

Mark Thompson / Getty Images
Mark Thompson / Getty Images

5.50pm: Bad news for the Australian fans. We have our first retirement and it's Ricciardo. The Red Bull driver stops just before Turn 5 with a hydraulic problem. He was running fourth at time, with the problem promoting Raikkonen and Verstappen up to fourth and fifth. Both Mercedes-GP drivers have pitted and Bottas has retained the lead over Hamilton, who pitted three laps later.

Top six: Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Ocon.

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'Pit window well and truly open'

5.40pm: Pierre Gasly has spun in his Toro Rosso on the exit of Turn 20, but he got the car going in the right direction again to continue.

Verstappen's attempt to get past Raikkonen by pitting one lap earlier failed as he was stuck behind Esteban Ocon's Force India after his pit stop.

The pit window is now well and truly open, with Ricciardo pitting from, and retaining, fourth.

Bottas 2.5 seconds clear of Hamilton at the front with neither having pitted.

Top six is Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Verstappen.

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Laps 10-15: Stroll first in, Bottas still leads

5.35pm: Stroll in the Williams is first in the pits. Pirelli had said the pit window for a one-stopper was laps 15-30 so this is a little early and comes after the Canadian lost 13th to Grosjean.

Red Bull also pits Verstappen from sixth in an attempt to leapfrog Raikkonen's fifth-placed Ferrari. Verstappen back out in ninth.

At the front this is impressive by Bottas. The jury may be out on just how motivated Hamilton is, but the Finn is now 2.2 seconds clear of the world champion.

The order is Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg.

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"How motivated is Hamilton?"

Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters
Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters

5.25pm:The question is just how motivated is Hamilton, with the world title already in his grasp, to deny Bottas a confidence boosting win? He seems to be content at present to follow the Finn, with the gap 1.9 seconds.

Vettel is almost five seconds down in third, and the Ferrari's promising pace from practice appears to have gone. Top six remains Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Verstappen.

The best fight on track at moment is for 13th place between the Williams of Stroll and the Haas of Grosjean.

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Solid starts

5.15pm: Solid starts from everyone at the front and Bottas holds lead from Hamilton, with Vettel third. Further back, Sergio Perez goes around the outside of Nico Hulkenberg at Turn 8 to take seventh, while Kevin Magnussen has recovered to continue after spinning at Turn 3 in his Haas.

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5pm: Scenes.

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"A nice problem to have"

Will Lewis Hamilton clinch his first win since becoming world champion? Clive Mason / Getty Images
Will Lewis Hamilton clinch his first win since becoming world champion? Clive Mason / Getty Images

4.45pm: It is a nice problem to have for Lewis Hamilton, but he has never won a race in a season when he has already been crowned world champion. In 2015, after winning the title in the United States, he was second to then teammate Nico Rosberg in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

This year, having already won his fourth title in Mexico, he finished only fourth in Brazil after a crash in qualifying left him at the rear of the field.

Can he end that run today and prove he is motivated when the championship is already in the bag?

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"Massa will be missed"

Felipe Massa prepares for his final race in F1 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit. The Williams driver retired from F1 at the race's conclusion. Clive Mason / Getty Images
Felipe Massa prepares for his final race in F1 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit. The Williams driver retired from F1 at the race's conclusion. Clive Mason / Getty Images

4.45pm: There are likely to be emotional scenes in the Williams garage as Felipe Massa shortly prepares to start his 269th and last grand prix of his career. The Brazilian is a popular man in the paddock and he will be missed. He retires having never won a world championship. His agonising near-miss in 2008, when he lost out to Lewis Hamilton by a point, is still one of the sport's most memorable moments. Massa is going for a perfect record of eight points finishes out of eight today.

This is his past record: 2010 - 10th, 2011 - 5th, 2012 - 7th, 2013 - 8th, 2014 - 2nd, 2015 - 8th, 2016 - 9th

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Final checks underway

4.25pm: The final checks on the cars in the garages are taking place and tt 4.30pm the pit lane will open and the field will head out.

If the driver is happy with their car they can head straight to the starting grid, if not they can do more laps, driving through the pits each time as they continue checks on set-up and car balance.

The pit lane closes at 4.45pm and any car that has not left by then will be forced to start from the pit exit, waiting for the rest of the field to go past first. The five red lights go out at 5pm to begin the grand prix.

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3.45pm: End-of-year school photo time for the F1 drivers...

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3.35pm: Al Ain and UAE goalkeeper Khalid Eisa is among the thousands in attendance.

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3.25pm: Valtteri Bottas' record-breaking car is looking tip-top and ready to go. But can the Finn convert pole into victory?

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"Start is crucial"

3.15pm: The start has usually been crucial to the outcome of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and it is likely to be the same again today.

Only twice in the eight stagings of the race has the driver who led at the end of the first lap not gone on to be the winner.

Lewis Hamilton in 2009 and 2012, both due to mechanical failures, is the only racer to have not won having been the leader after Lap 1.

The last three F1 races have failed to see the pole sitter lead out of the first corner, not a statistic to fill Valtteri Bottas with optimism.

He was beaten off the line by Sebastian Vettel two weeks ago in Brazil, Vettel lost the lead to Max Verstappen in Mexico, and then broke his front wing against Hamilton's car, and in the United States, Vettel passed Hamilton at the start.

Overall the man on pole has held onto the lead in 13 of the 19 races this season.

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Well, it's finally here, the one we have all been waiting for. The final race of the 2017 Formula One season, the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, is upon us.

But no need to be blue about it. A spectacle awaits us as F1's only day-night race gets under way at 5pm, and we'll bring you live coverage of all the action.

Although both the drivers' and constructors' championships were wrapped up by Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes-GP team some time ago, there is still plenty to race for at Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday.

Hamilton's teammate, Valtteri Bottas, sits on pole, ahead of the quadruple world champion, after the flying Finn smashed the record lap time around the capital's track during Saturday's qualifying.

Only once before has Bottas converted pole into a race win, in Austria in July, and he will be eager to show his Mercedes bosses that he can perform on the same level as Hamilton before the F1 show goes into winter hibernation.

Behind the Mercedes cars we have the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. The German has won thrice previously at Yas Marina Circuit, but in eight races the prancing horse has never had a driver on the top step of the podium. Can Vettel break Ferrari's duck in Abu Dhabi?

Our sports editor Graham Caygill writes:

"Sebastian Vettel's best hope of winning at Yas Marina Circuit for a fourth time is at the start.

"If he ends up behind both Mercedes-GP cars of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton when the first lap is over, it is going to be hard for him to make up ground on track.

"If he could, say, leapfrog Hamilton at the start and pressure Bottas, it would at least give him a chance of passing him in the pit stops with an earlier stop.

"Trying to jump two Mercedes cars in the pit stop window would be very difficult, but one is very do-able."

The two Red Bull Racing cars are split by Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari, who when he isn't racing in the elite series of motorsport is busy trying out the rides at Ferrari World.

Daniel Ricciardo starts fourth with Max Verstappen in sixth. The Dutch teenager has already triumphed at Malaysia and Mexico this season, and Ricciardo will be keen to finish ahead of his teammate after revealing on Saturday he has one eye on his contract situation with his deal at Red Bull due to expire at the end of next season.

Red Bull, along with Mercedes and Ferrari, have enjoyed their own battles at the front this season and Red Bull will want to lay down a marker in Abu Dhabi that they are serious contenders for the 2018 drivers and constructors' crowns.

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Fans in Abu Dhabi and around the world will be willing Williams driver Felipe Massa to carry on his fine tradition of recording points finishes in each of the previous eight Abu Dhabi Grand Prix races.

The Brazilian, who will retire for a second time in Abu Dhabi having previously quit the sport at the conclusion of last year's race only to be lured back to help mentor rookie Lance Stroll in his debut season, starts the race from 11th, one place behind his former Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso.

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Lance Stroll interview: Williams driver keeping his feet on the ground after record-breaking debut season

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Fans on Abu Dhabi Hill can expect Spain's double world champion to come flying past them, according to sports editor Graham Caygill, as the McLaren driver tries to get as much speed as possible out of the fast right-hander of Turn 3 on the downhill approach to the chicane.

Given Alonso's struggles at an underperforming McLaren team this year, don't be surprised if Massa isn't the only driver calling time on F1 when the chequered flag comes down on the 2017 season.

Feel free to message us @NatSportUAE with your tweets and pics.

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