14.41 ‘Superbly controlled race, start to finish’ says Lewis’ engineer and we couldn’t have put it better ourselves. He dedicates his win to his mum, who’ll surely have a tear in her eye. And if we’re being honest – we’re welling up a little bit ourselves. Tremendous drive in what the man himself has called his worst season in the sport – here’s hoping the momentum carries on into the final race in Brazil in two weeks’ time, and indeed into next season. Admittedly not the most action-packed race of the year, but a great result all the same. Here’s how they finished in Abu Dhabi:
1. Lewis Hamilton
2. Fernando Alonso
3. Jenson Button
4. Mark Webber
5. Felipe Massa
6. Nico Rosberg
7. Michael Schumacher
8. Adrian Sutil
9. Paul Di Resta
10. Kamui Kobayashi
11. Sergio Perez
12. Rubens Barrichello
13. Vitaly Petrov
14. Pastor Maldonado
15. Jaime Alguersuari
16. Bruno Senna
17. Heikki Kovalainen
18. Jarno Trulli
19. Timo Glock
20. Vitantonio Liuzzi
21. Daniel Ricciardo (DNF)
22. Sebastien Buemi (DNF)
23. Jerome d’Ambrosio (DNF)
24. Sebastian Vettel (DNF)
14.39 Hang about, Button will be on the podium – Webber had to pit to fullfil his obligation to use both tyre compounds. Two Brits in the top three then – not a bad afternoon at all for McLaren.
14.37 Is Lewis going to go for a Vettel-style fastest lap right at the death? If so, let’s hope he doesn’t overdo it and end up facing the wrong way.
14.33 Last chance now to get involved with the game the world is calling ‘quite good’ – our Formula One Bingo. How many did you spot?
14.28 Five laps to go now. Incredible drive from Lewis but a few decent runs further down the field. Rosberg deserves praise for once again out-finishing seven time world champion Michael Schumacher and Alonso’s been strong too. Shame that JB won’t be on the podium, but remember the man with the ‘tache was without KERS for the best part of the race.
14.20 Alonso stops for fresh boots, handing the lead back to Lewis who’s now ten laps away from his third win of the season. That’ll be one more first place finish than Jenson’s managed this year, stat fans.
14.17 Looks like Marko’s finally nabbed that place from Jenson. But was there contact as he went through? JB still intact after another half a lap, so seems he’s okay. Now, dig in and take that place back.
14.14 Lewis comes into the pits, leaving Alonso to take the lead. Don’t panic though – the Spaniard ought to be in for fresh tyres next lap.
14.09 Maldonado and Senna pick up drive-through penalties for ignoring blue flags. Basics boys, basics.
14.03 Lewis’ McLaren looks ruddy amazing under those floodlights. Can we hold all races at night next year please Bernie?
13.59 Looks like Jenson’s managed to sort his KERS out – he’s left Massa behind, who’s now got Mark Webber all over his gearbox. Fourth would be a season’s best for Felipe, so he’ll not be giving up that place without a scrap.
13.54 Rosewater, rather. Champagne not too popular in Islamic countries.
13.53 Third place Button under pressure from Massa now. JB needs a flawless second half if he’s going to be pouring champagne over Lewis’ head in 25 laps time.
13.46 So, nearly half distance now and here’s how they stand: Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Massa, Webber, Rosberg, Sutil, Schumacher, Di Resta, Kobayashi. Any one-stoppers will be filing into the pits any second, so hopefully we’re not far from some drama…
13.42 Everyone still awake? If so, remember to check out our Formula One Bingo. There’s absolutely no prizes up for grabs, but it’s more entertaining than this race at the moment.
13.40 Paul McCartney’s playing this year’s post-race gig on Yas Island. Anyone got any good Macca/F1 puns? We’ll start you off: ‘Liuzzi in the Sky with Diamonds.’
13.37 Barely seen Lewis on our screens, which can only be a good thing. Let’s hope we see him smiling on the podium in an hour or so.
13.35 Sloppy stop for Webber, so providing Jenson has no issues when he goes in for new boots, he should have some breathing space.
13.29 Bugger – JB’s got no KERS. Marko’s through, but Button takes him back. Only a matter of time before he loses the position for good though, surely.
13.23 Sun going down now in the desert, although it’s already gone down on Vettel’s chance of victory. Sorry, that was terrible. Not even Coulthard would have said that.
13.21 Schumacher looking good for some points in seventh. His race here ended fairly violently last year, so he’ll be looking to right a few wrongs today.
13.18 Beautiful track, that. Bit boring but still – looks nice.
13.15 Lots of pressure on Webber now. He snuck past Button a few laps back but the owner of the creepiest moustache in F1 since Nigel Mansell managed to nick third place back.
13.12 So that’s what Sebastian Vettel looks like when he’s sad. Yeah, a hug from Bernie. That’ll sort him out.
13.10 Anyone ticked anything off on their Formula One bingo cards? We’ve spotted at least a couple already…
13.08 So, three laps in and it’s Lewis leading from Alonso, then Button, Webber, Massa, Rosberg, Schumacher, Sutil, Perez and Di Resta. Maybe we’re in for some drama after all…
13.06 Vettel pulls into the pits but three quarters of a lap on three wheels has taken its toll on his Red Bull. That’s his afternoon over. Shocker for the double champion.
13.05 Alonso’s slipped past Button but he’s hanging onto his rear wing. Can he hold on until DRS is enabled?
13.04 Vettel’s off! He’s out! First retirement of the season for the world champion! Unbelievable! The two McLarens lead! Exclamation marks!
13.00 Formation lap underway. Textbook weaving from the front runners. Sad to see Barrichello starting from the back. Will he be racing next year?
12.50 Still, at least EJ opted against the traditional Arabian robes. Probably because it’d have gotten him immediately kicked out of the country.
12.46 Wow, fat Ronaldo is fat.
12.42 So, predictions for the race? Abu Dhabi’s dusty Yas Marina Circuit’s been called boring in the past, and without the motivation of a world championship and a fat paycheque, we could be in for a slightly dull afternoon. So, to keep you from nodding off while Vettel romps away to win number 12, check out Top Gear’s rather ingenious Formula One bingo. Simply tick off the scenarios as they pop up and give us a shout in the comments when you’ve seen them all (trust us, you will see them all). No prizes to play for, but imagine the pride. Seriously, just imagine it.
12.34 Here we are, round 18 of 19. Both the driver’s and constructor’s titles are in the bag, but there’s still plenty of pride to play for as F1 hits the swirling sands of Abu Dhabi. Vettel’s on pole (obviously) with misery guts Lewis Hamilton right next to him, just ahead of Webber and Button. Less than half an hour to the green light now, so charge your mug with your favourite beverage (yes, it is too early for a beer), take the phone off the hook and get set for a very, very noisy afternoon.