F1 cham­pion rakes in his 73rd ca­reer win

THE MO­TOR­SPORT LAP/ Hamil­ton takes the che­quered flag again as Raikko­nen’s hopes of dream exit are blown

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

Five-time world cham­pion Lewis Hamil­ton ended the 2019 For­mula One sea­son in style and a cloud of tyre smoke af­ter a po­leto-flag vic­tory in Abu Dhabi, his 11th win of the cam­paign.

Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel fin­ished sec­ond and set the fastest lap time. Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen was third.

“I am so happy right now,” said Hamil­ton af­ter Hol­ly­wood ac­tor Will Smith brought down the che­quered flag at the flood­lit Yas Ma­rina cir­cuit on the Mercedes driver’s 73rd ca­reer win.

The 33-year-old Hamil­ton, who has al­ready been crowned sea­son cham­pion, boasts 51 wins out of 100 races in the V6 turbo hy­brid era. His lat­est 408 points tally makes him the first driver to score more than 400 points in a sin­gle sea­son.

It was also two-times world cham­pion Fer­nando Alonso’s last race. He fin­ished 11th and with his fi­nal tally at 1,899. The trio of cham­pi­ons Hamil­ton, Vet­tel and Alonso cre­ated a spec­tac­u­lar cloud of smoke when they spun their cars at the end of their slow­ing-down lap, be­fore step­ping out for hugs and words of mu­tual re­spect.

Kimi Raikko­nen re­tired from his last For­mula One race with Fer­rari, his car los­ing power and coast­ing to a halt on the main straight af­ter just seven laps.

The 39-year-old Finn, the last driver to win a cham­pi­onship for Fer­rari, in 2007, is headed in 2019 to Sauber, the team with which he started his F1 ca­reer.

Raikko­nen still fin­ished third in the cham­pi­onship and the re­tire­ment brought down the cur­tain on what has oth­er­wise been a stand-out sea­son for F1’s old­est cur­rent driver.

Raikko­nen’s Oc­to­ber win in Texas, ended a win­less run of 113 races dat­ing back to vic­tory with Lo­tus in Aus­tralia in March 2013, and he has been on the podium 12 times in 21 races. Reuters

RACE DRIV­ERS SWOP CARS

Seven-times Nascar cham­pion Jim­mie John­son and for­mer F1 cham­pion Fer­nando Alonso swapped com­pany cars af­ter Sun­day’s sea­son-end­ing Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix.

John­son de­clared the V8pow­ered 2013 McLaren to be “mind-blow­ing” in brak­ing and ac­cel­er­a­tion, but Alonso found John­son’s Chevro­let to be a blast from the past with its V8 en­gine and steel brakes. The fun swap came a day af­ter Alonso’s last F1 race in Abu Dhabi. Both driv­ers said they were im­pressed by the other’s per­for­mance.

WORLD RAL­LY­CROSS VIS­ITS CAPE TOWN

Swe­den’s Jo­han Kristof­fers­son capped a re­mark­able year by tak­ing a record-break­ing 11th vic­tory of the 2018 World Ral­ly­cross (RX) sea­son at Kil­lar­ney in Cape Town at the week­end.

The VW Polo R driver, who had al­ready won the cham­pi­onship, dom­i­nated the sea­so­nend­ing World RX round. Thou­sands of lo­cal rac­ing fans turned up to watch the pow­er­ful RX cars bump and barge their way through a mixed course of tar­mac and dirt.

EKS Audi Sport’s Mat­tias Ek­strom started on the third row of the grid for the fi­nal in his Audi S1 and clinched sec­ond in the race, and se­cured sec­ond in the World RX Driv­ers’ Cham­pi­onship when his team­mate An­dreas Bakkerud re­tired from the semi­fi­nals.

Team Peu­geot To­tal’s Se­bastien Loeb com­pleted his third full World RX pro­gramme with an­other podium in his Peu­geot 208 and fin­ished ahead of team­mate Kevin Hansen in the fi­nal. Mul­ti­ple for­mer World Rally cham­pion Loeb set the fastest time in Q1 on Satur­day and fin­ished on the podium for the sev­enth time in 2018.

RED BULL, RE­NAULT SPLIT

Red Bull and en­gine sup­pli­ers Re­nault have parted ways as one of F1’s most suc­cess­ful part­ner­ships reached the end of the road in Abu Dhabi.

The once-dom­i­nant part­ner­ship has been fraught in re­cent sea­sons, with Red Bull feel­ing let down in the V6 turbo hy­brid era by a Re­nault en­gine that has lacked the power and re­li­a­bil­ity of ri­vals Mercedes and Fer­rari.

Abite­boul and Horner have en­gaged in ver­bal spar­ring, with Red Bull seek­ing but fail­ing to find an­other en­gine part­ner be­fore Honda be­came an op­tion. Red Bull will hope for bet­ter with Honda next sea­son while Re­nault, who are tak­ing Red Bull’s Aus­tralian driver Daniel Ric­cia­rdo with them, fo­cus on their year-old fac­tory team and clients McLaren.

To­gether Re­nault and Red Bull won 59 races and eight world cham­pi­onships four of them driv­ers’ crowns with Ger­man Se­bas­tian Vet­tel.

Kimi Raikko­nen ended his Fer­rari F1 ca­reer with a me­chan­i­cal fail­ure.

Jo­han Kristof­fers­son cel­e­brates af­ter his 11th World RX vic­tory of the sea­son.

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