Bottas wins F1 season-ender, Vettel finishes second overall

Abu Dhabi: Valtteri Bottas won the season-ending Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix from pole on Sunday but it wasn’t enough to take second place in the final standings behind Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas claimed his third season and career win ahead of Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who retained the overall runners-up spot in the day-into-night race with little drama at the 5.554-kilometre Yas Marina Circuit.
Hamilton, who had clinched a fourth career title with two races to spare four weeks ago in Mexico, finished the 20-race season with 363 points, with Vettel on 317 and Bottas on 305.
While Vettel failed to land the title he did manage to deny Mercedes a fourth straight year with a one-two finish.
Bottas had a much better getaway than two weeks ago in Brazil where he lost the race there to Vettel.
The start saw no changes at all in the first 10 qualifying spots — with the Finn leading the field from the three-time Abu Dhabi winners Hamilton and Vettel.
Further back, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg received a five-second penalty for cutting a corner in the opening lap while Haas driver Kevin Magnussen dropped to last after spinning.
The order at the top didn’t change through the first round of pitstops but Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo had to retire with hydraulic problems shortly before Hamilton completed the run for new rubbers in lap 25.
Hamilton closed in on Bottas thanks to a fresher engine but the Finn remained top and eventually won by four seconds, clocking 1 hour 34minutes 14.063 seconds over the 55 laps.
Further down a three-team battle for sixth in the constructors’ standings took centre stage, with Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas separated by a mere six points — with some 10 million dollars in prize money at stake.
Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly never got close to the points for lately ailing Toro Rosso, and Renault chances also appeared undermined when Carlos Sainz had to retire after a pit stop error.
But Hulkenberg overcame the penalty and battled into sixth place allowing Renault to turn the four-point deficit on Toro Rosso into a four-point advantage.
Felipe Massa of Williams meanwhile finished 10th in his final career race. The Brazilian veteran had originally quit 12 months ago but returned once his then team-mate Bottas moved on to Mercedes to replace the retired Nico Rosberg. The 2018 season — with several rule changes — starts on March 25 in Australia. — dpa