ABU DHABI -- Lewis Hamilton dominated the final race of the 2019 Formula One season to secure his 11th victory of his championship year.
The Mercedes driver led every lap of the race after starting from pole position, crossing the line 16.7 seconds clear of Max Verstappen in second place. The win caps off another remarkable year for Hamilton, who secured his sixth title at the U.S. Grand Prix in November.
After Hamilton emerged from the first corner of the 55-lap race in the lead, victory was never in doubt, and the spotlight fell on the battle for the remaining two podium positions behind. Verstappen and Red Bull won out in a strategic battle with Charles Leclerc for second place after Ferrari pitted on Lap 12 to undercut the Red Bull, only to lose the position again when Verstappen emerged behind him on fresher tyres after his own pit stop on Lap 25 and passed on track on Lap 32.
Leclerc then made a second pit stop on Lap 38, dropping him into a tense battle at the finish in which he held off the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who started at the back of the grid, by 0.9s. However, Leclerc's podium finish is under investigation after the FIA discovered a discrepancy between the fuel in his car and the amount Ferrari declared ahead of the race. A team representative will report to the stewards after the race to explain Ferrari's side of the story.
Sebastian Vettel finished fifth for Ferrari after passing Alex Albon on the track with two laps remaining. After starting fourth on the grid, Vettel had been on a two-stop strategy similar to his teammate, while Albon was on a one-stop strategy and 40-lap-old tyres when Vettel overtook him.
The race will not be remembered for its action and was not helped by a technical issue with the drag reduction system, which prevented the FIA from enabling the overtaking aid until Lap 19.
Battles further down the field saw Sergio Perez emerge in seventh place ahead of Lando Norris in eighth, Daniil Kvyat in ninth and Carlos Sainz in tenth. Both Renaults finished outside the points in 11th and 12th, but the French team still secured fifth in the standings ahead of Toro Rosso in sixth. Nico Hulkenberg finished his last race for Renault in 12th and will not return to the F1 grid next year after the team replaced him with Esteban Ocon for 2020. The race in Abu Dhabi brings the F1 season to an end, with pre-season testing for 2020 due to kick off in February.