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Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

It was a bittersweet day. The final grand prix of the 2017 season and the final race presented by NBC Sports team of Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett. While Abu Dhabi isn’t my favorite circuit on the Formula 1 calendar, the team of Hobbs, Diffey and Matchett are amongst my favorite F1 broadcasters. They’ve been together in one form of another since the SPEED days and then with NBC but that all came to an end on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

Valtteri Bottas started the race on pole for the second time in a row and the fourth time this year. If he won the race with Sebastian Vettel in 9th or lower, the Finn would take second in the Drivers’ Championship. He had to keep his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, behind him as well.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

The battle for 6th in the Constructors’ Championship was also at play with Toro Rosso clinging to the position but Renault better poised to steal it and Haas F1 hoping for a miracle to snag it.

In the end, Bottas kept his foot in it and gave Mercedes the result they wanted. The upgrades in Brazil and knock-on effect meant the cars were comprehensively dominant over all other in Aby Dhabi and while Lewis Hamilton took a few looks at the win, it was Bottas that secured the position. It was the 8th time Bottas beat Lewis in 2017.

Win

After losing the lead at turn 1 in Brazil, Bottas worked hard to make sure that didn’t happen again in Abu Dhabi and his good start was rewarded with retention of the lead of the race. Valtteri was taking some flak regarding his mid-season slump and missing the win in Brazil but he came back and managed a great race taking advantage of his pace in the twisty bits and keeping a 4-time champ behind him for the win.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

A win for Nico Hulkenberg who garnered a fail with a 5s penalty but through some terrific pace and racing, he managed to recover the 5s and get his Renault up in the points to overhaul Toro Rosso for 6th in the Constructors’ Championship.

A win for Felipe Massa for putting an exclamation mark on a terrific career as a Formula 1 driver. His last grand prix ended very similar to his first—Felipe fighting hard for points. Not quite sure if F1 told Massa to pull up on start grid or not but that was a bit odd.

Fail

A fail for Nico Hulkenberg who garnered a 5s penalty for leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage. Nico had achieved 7th place and that’s exactly what the team needed to take 6th place in the championship but his penalty was exactly what the team didn’t need. A slow pit stop from the right wheel changer meant that the 5s penalty was compounded by a sloppy pit stop. As much as that was a bummer, he did a terrific job to recover.

A fail for Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo for a DNF due to a hydraulic issue. It spoiled what otherwise was a fighting chance for a podium finish.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

A bit of a fail for Ferrari who couldn’t muster enough pace to give either Mercedes a run for their money. Vettel and Raikkonen drove lonely races and never mounted an assault for a race win.

A fail for Toro Rosso who couldn’t mount a decent defense of their 6th place in the championship and lost $6.5 million in prize money to Renault.

WTH

Not sure what happened to Kevin Magnussen on the first lap but spinning and falling to the back of the grid wasn’t what Haas F1 needed if they had any chance of snagging 7th in the championship.

I’m not quite sure what was hampering Max Verstappen’s pace for most of the weekend but there was something not quite right. Max never gets in a car to be an also-ran so not being able to beat Ricciardo in qualifying and running behind the two Ferrari’s for most of the race isn’t the normal Max we’ve grown to appreciate.

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

I share Lewis’s comments in the cool-down room when he said they need to change this track, it’s very difficult to overtake here and it always amazed me that with a blank slate, they chose no elevation changes and created a circuit that is very difficult to pass at.

Why does the new F1 logo look like a 1980’s ESPN logo and who designed it? As logos go, this looks like a bit of a throwback to be honest, it’s not in keeping with current logo design trends, that’s for sure.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result

Pos Driver Car Laps Gap
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 55 1h34m14.062s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 55 3.899s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 55 19.330s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 55 45.386s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 55 46.269s
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 55 1m25.713s
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 55 1m32.062s
8 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 55 1m38.911s
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 54 1 Lap
10 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 54 1 Lap
11 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 54 1 Lap
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 54 1 Lap
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 54 1 Lap
14 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 54 1 Lap
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Renault 54 1 Lap
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Renault 54 1 Lap
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 54 1 Lap
18 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 54 1 Lap
Carlos Sainz Renault 31 Wheel
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 20 Hydraulics

Driver’s Championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 363
2 Sebastian Vettel 317
3 Valtteri Bottas 305
4 Kimi Raikkonen 205
5 Daniel Ricciardo 200
6 Max Verstappen 168
7 Sergio Perez 100
8 Esteban Ocon 87
9 Carlos Sainz 54
10 Nico Hulkenberg 43
11 Felipe Massa 43
12 Lance Stroll 40
13 Romain Grosjean 28
14 Kevin Magnussen 19
15 Fernando Alonso 17
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 13
17 Jolyon Palmer 8
18 Pascal Wehrlein 5
19 Daniil Kvyat 5
20 Marcus Ericsson 0
21 Pierre Gasly 0
22 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
23 Brendon Hartley 0

Constructor’s Championship

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 668
2 Ferrari 522
3 Red Bull/Renault 368
4 Force India/Mercedes 187
5 Williams/Mercedes 83
6 Renault 57
7 Toro Rosso/Renault 53
8 Haas/Ferrari 47
9 McLaren/Honda 30
10 Sauber/Ferrari 5
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Race
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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.

  • Did NBC throw their toys out of the pram? The race replay is nowhere to be found.

    • That’s strange, I don’t see it on the event replay either.

    • Junipero Mariano

      It finally came up around 10-11pm. They did include some extras, such as a tribute to Jules Bianchi.

  • B52Rocklobster

    This race was interesting at least in one aspect: we got to see the Merc’s true pace. Combining the fact that this is the last race of the season (so making the engine last doesn’t matter) and this is the first race in awhile where the Merc’s were 1-2 and were truly pushing each other all race long, they obliterated the field and were a whole pit-stop ahead of the 3rd car of Vettel.

    It’s a great illustration of how much horsepower they have over the rest of the field and how hard it would have been for Ferrari (or anyone else) to win the championship this year.

    • p1ngu

      Could be the case; equally possible is that the Ferraris weren’t really trying. I suspect it’s a bit of both. Certainly Vettel didn’t look as though he’d been giving it his all.

      • Salvu Borg

        The race results had nothing to do (wasn’t an illustration of how much horsepower they have over the rest) horsepower differences. the race results were dictated by the track positions after the first lap. Mercedes had a decisive advantage which was exaggerated because with both their cars leading 1-2 after the first lap, FERRARI had to prioritize and so make sure that 5 and 7 first finished the race and secondly finished at least where they did.
        The horsepower numbers that has been banded about (Ferrari 2%, Renault 6%, Honda 11% down on Mercedes) is a leaked GPS data calculations, a set of information gathering of which is highly guarded and that all on the grid gathers on themselves and their competition. this information was leaked out by the owners that gathered it, when such things are leaked out there must be an aim behind such doings. these leakages which misleading so many followers and were starting so much polemics was the reason behind the survey carried out by the FIA to properly asses the differences in the top three engines performance.

        • jakobusvdl

          It sure looks like Mercedes had some sort of performance advantage over everyone. They very quickly opened a 10sec lead on Vettel and were an average 0.35 sec a lap quicker than Vettel over the race, 0.8 sec/lap quicker than Raikonnen and Verstappen, 1.5 sec/lap than Hulk, Perez and Ocon. Those are similar to the quali gaps, it must be a hell of a chassis!

          • Salvu Borg

            That Mercedes had a car advantage (both cars) in Abu Dhabi there is no doubt, what I was saying (only my opinion) was that advantage was exaggerated by the way the race developed by the end of the first lap. And that had nothing to do with any horsepower advantage which was also grossly exaggerated by some on here after Brazil as regards back then number 44 new development short term PU.
            Re the exaggerated horsepower advantage attributed to the number 44 PU. It should be remembered that in Brazil number 44 PU was racing for its first race, and in Abu Dhabi on its second race against the first three finisher with their PU’S on their cars well past their projected race mileage.
            In Brazil number 44 did not had any restrictions imposed on his power boost use, in fact he was encouraged to use all the PU boost he had.
            In Abu Dhabi pre-race the Mercedes drivers were instructed to use the same boost mode level. During the race number 44 felt that it was not fair on him not being able to use the extra power boost time of his PU, and his team promptly relented to his request, and then we all saw how “very big” his so called new Mercedes PU enormous horsepower advantage was! Against the well past its race mileage PU of his team mate!.

  • Tom Firth

    Whilst I agree with the criticism of the new logo for F1. It is sad that the first new F1 logo introduced since 1994 is the largest talking point in the hours after the conclusion of the last round of the championship for 2017.

  • jakobusvdl

    Does anyone else think the new logo looks like the profile of a halo?

  • jakobusvdl

    Fail for Renault x2 – the slow stop for Hulkenberg was preferable to a fast stop for Sainz where only three wheels are attached.
    Sainz was running well and Renault were looking at a possible 6th and 7th finish until then.

    • Salvu Borg

      Sainz Renault was released before the wheel gun-man had a chance to make use of the gun.

      • jakobusvdl

        Ooops, thats a conversation with Cyril that one pitstop controller won’t enjoy

        • Salvu Borg

          Mine was a clear sarcastic remark.
          There is no pit-stop controller per se nowadays, the system of car release is fully automated.
          Many things can contribute to a wheel not having been fully torqued-up. and not necessary the gun man being at fault, the wheel guns are themselves part of the electronic release system. There is no doubt that the team will know in no time what went wrong.
          The perfect pit-stop (time wise) is when there is two noises twice firing in perfect unison, but even so in that perfect pit-stop there remains the possibility that things having gone wrong.

  • jakobusvdl

    Win for McLaren Honda Alonso – getting home 9th ahead of Massa on a circuit with long straights.
    How many races is that now that McLaren Honda have got both cars home and with no p.u element failures?
    Could McLaren be kicking themselves for severing the Honda contract ?

    • Salvu Borg

      No question that Honda had made good progress.

  • Schumi Toronto

    That race was as boring as the new logo!

  • Salvu Borg

    The progress that Honda have made can be confirmed by the way Alonso was pushing Massa for lap after lap, in some particular places where Massa was using 8th gear (up-shifting into 8TH) Alonso was staying into 7th gear.