Lewis Hamilton capped off his championship-winning season with his 11th win of the year at the season finale in Abu Dhabi. Turns out he’s actually good at this whole Formula 1 thing.
This was Lewis’ second most dominant season in F1. Back in 2014 his first season with the works Mercedes team he won 11 races. Flashforward to 2018 and he was back on the top step of the podium 11 times thanks in part to a dominant car and a teammate who has relegated himself to rear gunner.
Valtteri Bottas did not have the season he or Mercedes wanted and his poor performance was on full display Sunday. Bottas came home a distant, distant fifth. I mean Lewis was talking to David Coulthard by the time Bottas crossed the finish line. Either Bottas has regressed as a driver or he has mentally checked himself into the also-ran’s category. Unfortunately, it appears his days at Mercedes won’t span past 2019.
Abu Dhabi Snooze
A nice warm, relatively dry night in Abu Dhabi more than likely made it easy to fall asleep. With little passing on the Tilke designed track fans were stuck watching strategy or the few mid-pack battles that occasionally happened. The hum of V6 hybrids undoubtedly put more than one ex-pat to sleep Sunday night.
Outside of the first lap incident that saw Nico Hulkenberg flip and ended up on his lid, the racing was not spectacular. He was fine, just got stuck upside down for a moment. No action was taken it was deemed a racing incident.
Sunday’s race is supposed to be Fernando Alonso’s last F1 race. We say “supposed to be” because on the grid walk with Martin Brundle when asked if this was “Goodbye forever or goodbye for now” Alonso responded with “for now.” If he does truly come back when McLaren is more competitive that would be amazing to see. The only thing working against Fred is his age. Statistically, drivers in their 40’s in modern era F1 haven’t had the most competitive drives.
Nonetheless, though we’d all welcome Fernando back for the antics and radio transmissions alone. We’ve seen him go from fresh face newcomer who stormed onto the scene with Mild Seven Renault in 2003, to the long-haired McLaren driver who burned out and went back to Renault. Ferrari then squandered a World Championship for him before saying see ya and sending him off to McLaren. Fernando’s legacy in F1 will always be “the guy in the right team at the wrong time.”
Fernando did leave us with a parting gift though. Donuts with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
See you in May at Indianapolis, Nando.