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    INSIGHT: Abu Dhabi Storylines You May Have Missed From making history to toas...

From making history to toasting the next generation, here's some bonus headlines from the Yas Marina...

By George, He's Done It!

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Reserve Driver George Russell's seventh F2 victory of the season in Abu Dhabi equalled the one-season record of Stoffel Vandoorne and Charles Leclerc and clinched the championship for the 20-year-old from Kings Lynn in his rookie year.

Speaking of the man who will be a Williams F1 driver alongside the returning Robert Kubica in 2019, Toto said: "My first encounter with George was when he was 15 or 16 years old and asked me for a meeting.

"I really enjoy meeting youngsters full of dreams and he came in a black suit and tie, with a notebook, and told me he'd just won the British F4 title. He told me he was considering doing F3 and his feeling was that he should be staying with a British team because he was very young and understood the Carlin team.

"He wanted to know, would that close the Mercedes door for him if he didn't have a Mercedes engine in the car in his first year? It was such a reflective question from a 15 / 16-year-old - amazing. He has the brain, the empathy, the social skills and the driving.

"I can only repeat what ART technical chief Sebastien Philippe told me beneath Saturday's podium. He said that George is one of the best they've ever had in their team. So, we may have another young British boy here who could be a star in the future!"

Considering ART's roll of honour, including Lewis himself, Philippe's words are no faint praise! George's Yas Marina victory, from pole position, came after a Safety Car-interrupted race following stalls from both DAMS cars on the grid, with Nicholas Latifi hit hard by Arjun Maini.

George had strong words to say about that: "I saw the aftermath of the incident as I was driving around, on the TV screens. I was frustrated because we are the highest level below F1 and yet the starting procedure on this car is absolutely woeful. Every single driver on the grid does not know how to make a good start or a bad start. And even if they find out how to, it's impossible to repeat it.

"It's a gamble every single time and I've huge sympathy for the guys who stalled and the guy who crashed because it's not their fault. You toss the coin and hope for a good start. It has to change for next year because it's unacceptable."

Even after the biggest success of his career to date, there's no rest for George as he stays on in Abu Dhabi for his first Williams run in this week's tests of the 2019-spec Pirelli F1 tyres.

Ripping Up the Record Books

Lewis' 11th victory of the season in Abu Dhabi equalled his tally from 2014 - the first season of the Hybrid era - and set a new record for points scored in a single F1 season - 408!

The previous record was the 397 points scored by Sebastian Vettel in 2013. There is still something to aim at though - the 13 victories in a single season won by Michael Schumacher in 2004 and equalled by Vettel in '13.

Another record that fell to Lewis at Yas Marina was the most victories for a single engine manufacturer. Lewis has driven his entire career with Mercedes power, at McLaren from 2007-12 and with the works team from 2013 onwards.

His 73rd win with Mercedes power bettered the 72 victories Schumacher won with Ferrari engines between 1996 and 2006 - some achievement! Lewis is now within 18 wins of Schumacher's all-time record 91 victory tally.

Fine Margins and Future Learnings

Fifth place in Abu Dhabi was a bitter disappointment for Valtteri, as it meant he finished the year in the same position in the Drivers' Championship - just a couple of points behind Max Verstappen, who jumped him by finishing on the podium.

"I think the race summed up the season quite well," Valtteri said, "it started off quite well and then went downhill."

Over the radio on the cool down, lap there was no mistaking the mutual respect between driver and race engineer Tony Ross, who moves on from the F1 team in 2019.

Chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin said: "I'd like to thank Tony for all his hard work over the last eight years. He will play a big part in our Formula E programme next year. He has contributed so much to the past five Constructors' Championships, and to Nico Rosberg's driver's championship, so we will all be sad to see him go, but happy we've had the chance to enjoy so much success together."

After winning three races in 2017, Valtteri considers 2018, in which he finished winless, the most disappointing season of his F1 career. But, he added: "I know that I performed better than last year. In the end, that's the only thing that matters after a season like this, one to learn from, one to kind of also forget but one that definitely will make me a tougher driver and person in the future."

He can take some solace from the fact that his one-lap pace over the season was so close to Lewis - a man who finished the year with 83 F1 poles to his name!

Stripping out qualifying sessions where issues for one or other rendered a comparison meaningless, although Lewis finished the season 13-5 ahead, the average margin between them was just 0.16s. Across the grid, only four team mate comparisons were closer: Sirotkin / Stroll at Williams (0.038s); Ocon / Pérez at Force India (0.10s); Hülkenberg / Sainz at Renault (0.13s); and Grosjean / Magnussen at Haas (0.14s).

A Disappointing Finnish...

Valtteri was not the only Finn on whom Lady Luck frowned in Abu Dhabi....

Kimi Räikkönen joked that he was not too bothered about finishing third in the Drivers' Championship because it would mean more travel - a flight to the year-end FIA awards ceremony in St Petersburg, at which attendance is compulsory for the top three. But, he said, he still wanted to leave with a strong race prior to joining Sauber for 2019.

Sadly, his most recent five years at Maranello came to an end very prematurely when his Ferrari ground to a halt on the main straight after just six laps with a Power Unit issue. But, with Verstappen ultimately missing his year-end total by just two points, Kimi was still bound for St Petersburg!

Kimi's bad luck provided an opportunity for others in the form of a VSC (Virtual Safety Car) period and, as ever the Mercedes strategists were on their toes...

To Pit, or Not to Pit?

Whenever an incident occurs on track, teams have to think on their feet and there were two such instances early in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The first came on the opening lap when Nico Hülkenberg's Renault was tipped into a series of rolls by a collision with Romain Grosjean's Haas at Turn 8. The Safety Car was deployed immediately while Hülkenberg was freed from his inverted Renault, thankfully unharmed.

Although the team was confident that the SuperSoft Pirelli onto which everyone would switch at their pitstop could do an entire race distance, it was simply too early to stop because insufficient field spread (the small gaps between the cars on the opening lap) meant that anyone pitting would fall to the back of the field. It was perhaps surprising, though, that no drivers further down the field went for it.

As soon as a VSC period for Räikkönen's stranded Ferrari was initiated on Lap 7, however, Lewis was called in for a 'cheap' stop, saving him around 6s of race time. He re-joined still in fifth position, just 9s behind Valtteri, who now led.

Surprisingly perhaps, only two cars followed suit - Charles Leclerc's Sauber, which had been running an excellent fourth, and Romain Grosjean's Haas, from sixth.

The team did not try a double-stop, pitting Valtteri as well, for two reasons. On the previous lap there had been just 2.8s between the two drivers, meaning that if both cars had been pitted, Valtteri would have been stacked momentarily while Lewis was serviced, compromising his track position.

Secondly, for the purposes of controlling the race, it was beneficial to have one car in front, with everything under control whatever the outcome.

Another compelling reason for pitting Lewis so early was that if the team had not, one of the other leading teams almost certainly would have done, giving themselves a decent chance of winning the race.

The strategists were surprised that more teams did not elect to pit, conjecturing that perhaps some didn't expect the SuperSoft tyre to have the 50-lap range that it did.

Friday's practice data, however, had shown the team that the SuperSoft (the hardest compound on offer in Abu Dhabi) was not only the most robust tyre but also the quickest, almost from the outset - which is unusual. It was a phenomenon also seen in Sochi with the Soft tyre - the hardest on offer there, too.

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