Bottas holds off Hamilton in Abu Dhabi GP

Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

"Next year it will go back to what it was in the second half of the season".

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. It was a great race, I gave it everything, every single lap.

"They say you have to have a 1.4-second advantage on the vehicle in front and we are in the same auto and there is not 1.4 seconds between us in ability".

"I hate to say it, he was the better man, so I'm sure we will do our bit over the winter and hopefully come back stronger".

Bottas looked in control from start to finish in a race that started in sunlight but ended under floodlights. "You have to be also fair; in the end, Mercedes was better, they were faster - look at the amount of pole positions, of race wins". Today's race victor, Valtteri Bottas is fifth overall with odds of 14 to 1 to win the Formula 1 Driver's Championship in 2018.

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In 2017, Mercedes continued its dominance of the V6 Hybrid Turbo era of Formula 1, securing a fourth Constructors' Championship title and a fourth win in the Drivers' Championship despite facing its first serious challenge from another team in the form of Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel.

"Big, big congratulations to Valtteri, he did an incredible job today to hold me off, but it was a great race, I gave it everything every single lap, it's very hard to overtake here so once you get to the last sector, you struggle a little bit", said Hamilton after the final race of the season.

"Never going to overtake unless he makes a massive mistake", Hamilton said.

"I don't think it's a shame to come second in the way that we did", Vettel said.

The pair performed celebratory tyre-burning spins after the finish, with retiring Brazilian Felipe Massa pulling his Williams alongside the Mercedes and joining in the hugs and handshakes.

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen finished the race in fifth while teammate Daniel Ricciardo retired, dropping to fifth in the standings.

Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas were separated by just six points before the start, with millions of dollars in prize money at stake and Renault taking the honours thanks to Nico Hulkenberg's sixth place.

Vettel had a quiet race in a lonely third place ahead of Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

There was also an emotional send-off for Brazilian veteran Massa, the 2008 world championship runner-up finishing 10th in his final race.

"I just managed to find time here and there and it was all under control and just felt really good in the auto".

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