Valtteri Bottas missed out on second place in the Formula One drivers' championship despite winning the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
Having qualified on pole, Bottas needed to triumph at the Yas Maria Circuit and have Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finish ninth or lower for him to complete a season one-two for Mercedes alongside title winner Lewis Hamilton.
After preserving his lead despite a strong start from Hamilton, who qualified second, and maintaining his advantage in the round of pit stops, Bottas did his part in a race of little incident.
Unfortunately for the Finn, though, Vettel completed the podium to take third, with his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fourth after Daniel Ricciardo was forced to retire.
Further down the field, Felipe Massa - who said goodbye to the sport at the same circuit last year only to return to Williams as a replacement for Bottas - bid farewell for a second time as he marked his final race with a points finish.
Massa had to settle for 10th after losing out in a battle with Fernando Alonso, who will look to be fighting further up the field with Renault power as McLaren's much-troubled relationship with Honda comes to an end.
BOTTAS BREEZES TO VICTORY
Hamilton had the better getaway when the lights went out, but Bottas was able to stay ahead into the first corner and from there it was pretty much a procession.
Bottas pitted as Ricciardo's retirement on lap 21 led to double-waved yellow flags, and that decision paid off as he maintained his advantage over Hamilton, who stopped three laps later.
Hamilton did put Bottas under some late pressure as he tried to take advantage of an error made by his team-mate. However, Bottas was not to be denied and his 61 points over the final three races mark the most of any driver in the paddock
ROTTEN LUCK FOR RICCIARDO
Ricciardo went into the race seven points ahead of Raikkonen in fourth in the championship, but the Australian will have to settle for fifth after some bad reliability luck.
A hydraulic failure put paid to Ricciardo's prospects for the finale, marking his third retirement in four races.
Raikkonen took advantage by claiming 12 points, leaving Ricciardo to rue his misfortune.
SIXTH CLINCHED FOR RENAULT DESPITE SAINZ WOE
Renault did not want to suffer the ignominy of finishing behind Red Bull's sister team and customer Toro Rosso in the constructors' championship.
But, with the Enstone team having gone into the race four points behind Toro Rosso, that looked a distinct possibility, particularly when Carlos Sainz was forced to retire after a wheel was not attached correctly in the pits.
However, Nico Hulkenberg's sixth-place finish and eight-point haul ensured Renault jumped into sixth in the standings and claim the additional prize money that comes with it.
IN THE POINTS
1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +3.899s
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +19.330s
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +45.386s
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +46.269s
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +85.713s
7. Sergio Perez (Force India) +92.062s
8. Esteban Ocon (Force India) +98.911s
9. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) +1 lap
10. Felipe Massa (Williams) + +1 lap
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 363
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 317 (-46)
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 305 (-58)
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 205 (-158)
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 200 (-163)
1. Mercedes 668
2. Ferrari 522 (-146)
3. Red Bull 368 (-300)
4. Force India 187 (-481)
5. Williams 83 (-585)
The drivers can relax with another season in the books. Pre-season testing begins in Barcelona on February 26.
23 de abril 2018
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