Bottas beats Hamilton to Abu Dhabi GP win

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Bottas retained the lead from pole at the start and though he lost it briefly when he pitted first, he absorbed pressure from Hamilton to secure his third win of the season. It was noted that Bottas managed to control the race from the front, getting a strong start from the get-go and never really letting up on his advantage.

Be it in the ante room before the podium ceremony, talking to Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel, in the post-race press conferences and in subsequent one-to-ones with the media, world champion Lewis Hamilton was in no doubt as to where the blame lay.

Vettel proved conclusively that Ferrari's testing form had been real, when the German scored a crushing 9.9sec victory over the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in Melbourne's season opener.

Despite his clear and undeniable status as the best driver in the world, for whatever reason; be it the curious British trait to deny excellence, a more understandable (if a little misjudged applied to Lewis's case) aversion to a lack of humility in a person, or just plain old spite, it seems unlikely he'll ever be the people's champion.

Hamilton was vocal in his dislike of the narrow track.

The final qualifying session of the McLaren-Honda partnership failed to offer much joy as both Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne dropped out in Q2, finishing 11th and 13th respectively.

Since the race's inauguration in Abu Dhabi for the now traditional - and spectacular - denouement to the calendar, Hamilton has won on Yas Marina on three separate occasions including last year's contest.

Stroll was unable to extend his stay in qualifying, although team-mate Felipe Massa, in his final grand prix before retirement, did just enough.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday. Perez jumped Ocon, with 1m 38.374s to 1m 38.397s, as Massa took an honourable 10th in 1m 38.550s for his final Grand Prix.

In the second runs, Hamilton was quicker than his team-mate through two of the first three sectors.

"I wouldn't say I feel any more secure this year, I'm not particularly an insecure person, I wouldn't say that's been an issue in the past".

Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo was retired with a hydraulic problem, and Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr. followed later, after a botched pit stop saw a wheel come loose.

The Silver Arrows will be keen to keep Hamilton away from the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull, and are likely to offer him a huge sum to make that happen.

Force Inda's Sergio Perez will likely be battling hard with Nico Hulkenberg on Sunday.

"You can understand the new owners wanting to have a fresh new image and a logo epitomises an image at the end of the day".