Formula One Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen wave from pit lane to grandstand as Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was taken out during the last lap of the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton crossed the line second and third, respectively, and took the drivers’ titles for Mercedes and Ferrari. (Admiral Louie Allyn Znidars/AFP/Getty Images)
Sebastian Vettel won a thrilling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for Ferrari, making it three wins from as many races this season. Lewis Hamilton, who may have had his worst season in seven years, was second, in a race that saw major blows to the favorites of Mercedes and Ferrari.
Vettel’s victory ended Max Verstappen’s Formula One career as the young driver finished fifth to end his rookie season second-farthest behind Vettel in the drivers’ standings. The win made Ferrari the only team to have won the first three races this season.
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas were knocked out of the race with terrifying and-assault on the track. Shortly after Rosberg and Hamilton finished their qualifying runs, Hamilton made it across the line first. At that moment, Bottas appeared to go into an uncontrolled spin off the track and hit his back end. The crash caused him to crash through a barrier and end up airborne into the track.
According to Bottas, he was able to throw his arms in the air and exclaim, “Oh god,” after he flew into the air and then with him was Pierre Gasly, the Toro Rosso driver. Bottas was airlifted to the hospital, while Gasly was OK to continue.
Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari takes the checkered flag following the curtain fall during the last lap of the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. (Admiral Louie Allyn Znidars/AFP/Getty Images)
The drama put a stop to what had been a thrilling finale. Kimi Raikkonen’s race was apparently stopped when a fan had run onto the track; when he rejoined on the fifth lap, Raikkonen finished fourth, from five cars adrift of race leader Vettel.
Once again, in a chaotic race, Max Verstappen had the highest finish of any driver from a team that had not won a race all season. Verstappen, 19, has seemed to leave the rest of his colleagues in the dust in terms of their ability to finish races, but it is Vettel who has the most wins this season and the one who remains undefeated in 2017.