Race Report: Bottas holds off Hamilton for Abu Dhabi GP win

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

It was a bittersweet day. The final grand prix of the 2017 season and the final race presented by NBC Sports team of Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett. While Abu Dhabi isn’t my favorite circuit on the Formula 1 calendar, the team of Hobbs, Diffey and Matchett are amongst my favorite F1 broadcasters. They’ve been together in one form of another since the SPEED days and then with NBC but that all came to an end on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

Valtteri Bottas started the race on pole for the second time in a row and the fourth time this year. If he won the race with Sebastian Vettel in 9th or lower, the Finn would take second in the Drivers’ Championship. He had to keep his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, behind him as well.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

The battle for 6th in the Constructors’ Championship was also at play with Toro Rosso clinging to the position but Renault better poised to steal it and Haas F1 hoping for a miracle to snag it.

In the end, Bottas kept his foot in it and gave Mercedes the result they wanted. The upgrades in Brazil and knock-on effect meant the cars were comprehensively dominant over all other in Aby Dhabi and while Lewis Hamilton took a few looks at the win, it was Bottas that secured the position. It was the 8th time Bottas beat Lewis in 2017.


After losing the lead at turn 1 in Brazil, Bottas worked hard to make sure that didn’t happen again in Abu Dhabi and his good start was rewarded with retention of the lead of the race. Valtteri was taking some flak regarding his mid-season slump and missing the win in Brazil but he came back and managed a great race taking advantage of his pace in the twisty bits and keeping a 4-time champ behind him for the win.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

A win for Nico Hulkenberg who garnered a fail with a 5s penalty but through some terrific pace and racing, he managed to recover the 5s and get his Renault up in the points to overhaul Toro Rosso for 6th in the Constructors’ Championship.

A win for Felipe Massa for putting an exclamation mark on a terrific career as a Formula 1 driver. His last grand prix ended very similar to his first—Felipe fighting hard for points. Not quite sure if F1 told Massa to pull up on start grid or not but that was a bit odd.


A fail for Nico Hulkenberg who garnered a 5s penalty for leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage. Nico had achieved 7th place and that’s exactly what the team needed to take 6th place in the championship but his penalty was exactly what the team didn’t need. A slow pit stop from the right wheel changer meant that the 5s penalty was compounded by a sloppy pit stop. As much as that was a bummer, he did a terrific job to recover.

A fail for Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo for a DNF due to a hydraulic issue. It spoiled what otherwise was a fighting chance for a podium finish.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

A bit of a fail for Ferrari who couldn’t muster enough pace to give either Mercedes a run for their money. Vettel and Raikkonen drove lonely races and never mounted an assault for a race win.

A fail for Toro Rosso who couldn’t mount a decent defense of their 6th place in the championship and lost $6.5 million in prize money to Renault.


Not sure what happened to Kevin Magnussen on the first lap but spinning and falling to the back of the grid wasn’t what Haas F1 needed if they had any chance of snagging 7th in the championship.

I’m not quite sure what was hampering Max Verstappen’s pace for most of the weekend but there was something not quite right. Max never gets in a car to be an also-ran so not being able to beat Ricciardo in qualifying and running behind the two Ferrari’s for most of the race isn’t the normal Max we’ve grown to appreciate.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

I share Lewis’s comments in the cool-down room when he said they need to change this track, it’s very difficult to overtake here and it always amazed me that with a blank slate, they chose no elevation changes and created a circuit that is very difficult to pass at.

Why does the new F1 logo look like a 1980’s ESPN logo and who designed it? As logos go, this looks like a bit of a throwback to be honest, it’s not in keeping with current logo design trends, that’s for sure.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result

1Valtteri BottasMercedes551h34m14.062s
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes553.899s
3Sebastian VettelFerrari5519.330s
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari5545.386s
5Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault5546.269s
6Nico HulkenbergRenault551m25.713s
7Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes551m32.062s
8Esteban OconForce India/Mercedes551m38.911s
9Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda541 Lap
10Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes541 Lap
11Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari541 Lap
12Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Honda541 Lap
13Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari541 Lap
14Pascal WehrleinSauber/Ferrari541 Lap
15Brendon HartleyToro Rosso/Renault541 Lap
16Pierre GaslyToro Rosso/Renault541 Lap
17Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari541 Lap
18Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes541 Lap
Carlos SainzRenault31Wheel
Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault20Hydraulics

Driver’s Championship

1Lewis Hamilton363
2Sebastian Vettel317
3Valtteri Bottas305
4Kimi Raikkonen205
5Daniel Ricciardo200
6Max Verstappen168
7Sergio Perez100
8Esteban Ocon87
9Carlos Sainz54
10Nico Hulkenberg43
11Felipe Massa43
12Lance Stroll40
13Romain Grosjean28
14Kevin Magnussen19
15Fernando Alonso17
16Stoffel Vandoorne13
17Jolyon Palmer8
18Pascal Wehrlein5
19Daniil Kvyat5
20Marcus Ericsson0
21Pierre Gasly0
22Antonio Giovinazzi0
23Brendon Hartley0

Constructor’s Championship

3Red Bull/Renault368
4Force India/Mercedes187
7Toro Rosso/Renault53
Overall Race
race-report-bottas-holds-off-hamilton-for-abu-dhabi-gp-winIt was a nice win for Bottas but the track never seems to produce great racing and to be honest, it doesn't seem like a fitting track to end the season on if I'm honest. With most of the titles locked up, it was processional affair but some great racing for 6th in the championship and a great win for Valtteri.
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Did NBC throw their toys out of the pram? The race replay is nowhere to be found.

Negative Camber

That’s strange, I don’t see it on the event replay either.

Junipero Mariano

It finally came up around 10-11pm. They did include some extras, such as a tribute to Jules Bianchi.


This race was interesting at least in one aspect: we got to see the Merc’s true pace. Combining the fact that this is the last race of the season (so making the engine last doesn’t matter) and this is the first race in awhile where the Merc’s were 1-2 and were truly pushing each other all race long, they obliterated the field and were a whole pit-stop ahead of the 3rd car of Vettel. It’s a great illustration of how much horsepower they have over the rest of the field and how hard it would have been for Ferrari (or… Read more »


Could be the case; equally possible is that the Ferraris weren’t really trying. I suspect it’s a bit of both. Certainly Vettel didn’t look as though he’d been giving it his all.

Salvu Borg

The race results had nothing to do (wasn’t an illustration of how much horsepower they have over the rest) horsepower differences. the race results were dictated by the track positions after the first lap. Mercedes had a decisive advantage which was exaggerated because with both their cars leading 1-2 after the first lap, FERRARI had to prioritize and so make sure that 5 and 7 first finished the race and secondly finished at least where they did. The horsepower numbers that has been banded about (Ferrari 2%, Renault 6%, Honda 11% down on Mercedes) is a leaked GPS data calculations,… Read more »


It sure looks like Mercedes had some sort of performance advantage over everyone. They very quickly opened a 10sec lead on Vettel and were an average 0.35 sec a lap quicker than Vettel over the race, 0.8 sec/lap quicker than Raikonnen and Verstappen, 1.5 sec/lap than Hulk, Perez and Ocon. Those are similar to the quali gaps, it must be a hell of a chassis!

Salvu Borg

That Mercedes had a car advantage (both cars) in Abu Dhabi there is no doubt, what I was saying (only my opinion) was that advantage was exaggerated by the way the race developed by the end of the first lap. And that had nothing to do with any horsepower advantage which was also grossly exaggerated by some on here after Brazil as regards back then number 44 new development short term PU. Re the exaggerated horsepower advantage attributed to the number 44 PU. It should be remembered that in Brazil number 44 PU was racing for its first race, and… Read more »

Tom Firth

Whilst I agree with the criticism of the new logo for F1. It is sad that the first new F1 logo introduced since 1994 is the largest talking point in the hours after the conclusion of the last round of the championship for 2017.


Does anyone else think the new logo looks like the profile of a halo?


Fail for Renault x2 – the slow stop for Hulkenberg was preferable to a fast stop for Sainz where only three wheels are attached.
Sainz was running well and Renault were looking at a possible 6th and 7th finish until then.

Salvu Borg

Sainz Renault was released before the wheel gun-man had a chance to make use of the gun.


Ooops, thats a conversation with Cyril that one pitstop controller won’t enjoy

Salvu Borg

Mine was a clear sarcastic remark. There is no pit-stop controller per se nowadays, the system of car release is fully automated. Many things can contribute to a wheel not having been fully torqued-up. and not necessary the gun man being at fault, the wheel guns are themselves part of the electronic release system. There is no doubt that the team will know in no time what went wrong. The perfect pit-stop (time wise) is when there is two noises twice firing in perfect unison, but even so in that perfect pit-stop there remains the possibility that things having gone… Read more »


Win for McLaren Honda Alonso – getting home 9th ahead of Massa on a circuit with long straights.
How many races is that now that McLaren Honda have got both cars home and with no p.u element failures?
Could McLaren be kicking themselves for severing the Honda contract ?

Salvu Borg

No question that Honda had made good progress.

Schumi Toronto

That race was as boring as the new logo!

Salvu Borg

The progress that Honda have made can be confirmed by the way Alonso was pushing Massa for lap after lap, in some particular places where Massa was using 8th gear (up-shifting into 8TH) Alonso was staying into 7th gear.