Motor racing: Five-time world champ Lewis Hamilton wins crash-hit season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton leading the pack at the start of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Nov 25, 2018.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton leading the pack at the start of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Nov 25, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ABU DHABI (AFP) - New five-time champion Lewis Hamilton claimed his 11th win of the Formula One season on Sunday (Nov 25), when he drove his Mercedes to a well-judged triumph in an incident-filled season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 33-year-old Briton, who started from his 83rd pole position, came home 2.5 seconds ahead of his main title rival, four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.

The win came after a race that began with an horrific opening lap crash from which Nico Hulkenberg escaped unhurt, his blazing Renault car having barrel-rolled into the barriers.

Dutchman Max Verstappen finished third ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, in his 100th race for Red Bull and 150th overall before moving to Renault, and Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes.

Carlos Sainz came home sixth for Renault ahead of Ferrari-bound Charles Leclerc of Sauber, Sergio Perez of Force India, Romain Grosjean, who had tangled with Hulkenberg on the opening lap, and his Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

Retirement-bound two-time champion Fernando Alonso finished 11th for McLaren in his 311th and farewell appearance.

His car was catapulted into the air and rolled at high speed into the barriers where, on impact, flames bust from the rear of the car, which was left hanging upside down.

 

"Are you OK, Nico," the team asked him. "I'm hanging here like a cow," he told the Renault team by radio. "There's fire...There's fire...Get me out."

He was soon helped by marshals who had to manually roll the car off the barriers before assisting him in climbing out. Hulkenberg was able to walk away and talk to marshals and medical staff.

Grosjean asked his Haas team if Hulkenberg was okay and, after being told he was, he added that he had nowhere to go when they crashed. The race stewards quickly announced they were taking no action and treated the crash as a racing incident.