Hamilton secures pole for Abu Dhabi GP

LIVE | The drivers speak to the media ahead of the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Bottas best in 1st practice for Abu Dhabi GP; Vettel crashes

After Hamilton emerged from the first corner of the 55-lap race in the lead, victory was never in doubt, and the spotlight fell on the battle for the remaining two podium positions behind.

Later in the race, Leclerc lost second position to Verstappen who could overtake easily once swapping for fresh tires.

Lewis Hamilton says it is "smart and wise" to consider carefully which team to drive for in 2021. We need to push very hard to provide the drivers with the quickest possible vehicle.

"The Ferraris of Leclerc and Vettel were respectively 43 and 64 seconds behind the cruising Hamilton which feels rather more like the earlier hybrid power-unit years". There were delays and stuff, so it was not great and we couldn't fix it, so we drove around the problem.

Reflecting on the season, he said: "We did our best each time, but obviously we are unhappy for the performance of the vehicle and unhappy for some mistakes we did".

Team boss Mattia Binotto acknowledged that Ferrari was "stuck" trying to take the risk of being the last cars out to benefit from improved track conditions.

After an investigation after the race, Ferrari was fined £ 43,000 after reporting an inaccurate reading in Leclerc's vehicle.

Racing Point's Sergio Perez was eliminated at the last moment in Q2 by Nico Hulkenberg's late improvement after being pushed down to 11th - although Bottas's penalty means he will start 10th.

The Monegasque appeared to blame the German for ruining his qualifying via team radio, complaining that his teammate had backed him up, while Vettel appeared to be slowing to create space between the similarly tardy Alex Albon ahead, the Thai driver going on to qualify sixth. Ferrari, realizing that its drivers were down on pace with the hard tires, called them both in for fresh tires on lap 38, with Leclerc taking on softs and Vettel mediums.

It was the latest basic mistake from Ferrari in yet another season marred by errors following similar blunders in the past two seasons. "The reasons are clear, the lessons are clear and it's up to us to take them on board", said Vettel.

"I think it's just about understanding the auto and and ultimately just squeezing out the best - not over-driving, not under-driving, just trying to find the right balance throughout the year".

But as each year passes, Verstappen continues to boost his credentials, and depending on what strides are made on the Red Bull in the off-season, it is hoped he can reel in the gap on Hamilton once more.

Asked on Sunday in Abu Dhabi about a report from Italy claiming that Ferrari's Elkann had contacted him on at least two occasions this year, Hamilton was coy but didn't deny the story.

"Valtteri was very quick towards the end", Leclerc said.

"Charles surprised everybody, not only myself", said Binotto, ending his first year in charge at Maranello.

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