F1 champion Lewis Hamilton wrapped up his majestic 2018 campaign with another routine win in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After his 11th triumph of a dominant year the Mercedes driver stripped on the podium and pointed to the ‘Still I Rise’ tattoo that adorns his back.
Hamilton’s antics were perhaps the most notable thing about the afternoon, says the Daily Telegraph.
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“As the expensive champagne sluiced all over his exposed torso, Hamilton surely felt he had found the defining image for a season of unanswerable dominance,” says the paper.
“Truth be told, his Middle-Eastern hosts looked on nonplussed while he showed off a part of his body covered with a crucifix and the title of a Maya Angelou poem. But perhaps he could be forgiven the indulgence.
“With an 11th victory to equal his previous highest total in 2014, Hamilton delivered a crowning testament to his supremacy. What was supposed to have been the tensest of duels with Sebastian Vettel, his closest rival, ended up being decided in his favour by 88 points.”
The season summed up
The race was one of “limited excitement” says Andrew Benson of the BBC, but it managed to “echo some of the themes of the season”.
“Lewis Hamilton was just too good for his rivals… Sebastian Vettel was just not quite quick enough to challenge. The second Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was underwhelming. And Max Verstappen slipped ahead of the Finn into fourth place in the championship with a drive combining the maturity and speed he has generally shown in the second half of the season.”
The main drama in the race occurred on the opening lap when Nico Hulkenberg’s car flipped over and the driver became trapped as fire appeared at the rear of the vehicle.
Marshalls soon appeared to extricate the driver and extinguish the fire. But it was “a stark reminder of the risks still involved in the sport”, says The Guardian.
But the race had an “end of term flavour” says the Telegraph as several drivers said farewell.
“First there was Kimi Raikkonen, ending his Ferrari career aged 39 with a power failure and striding off into the sunset with scarcely a backward glance. Then came Fernando Alonso, setting the seal on his 18 years in the sport with a few burn-outs for a crowd, but hardly looking like he wanted to go overboard about finishing 11th.”
Rebecca Clancy of the The Times says: “Red Bull were also saying goodbye to one of their drivers in Daniel Ricciardo. Their guard of honour for the Australian was far better than the one Alonso received and he will be missed by the Milton Keynes-based team.”
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