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REPORT: Lewis Signs Off Season with Victory

Lewis ends the year on the top step of the podium in Abu Dhabi, while Valtteri finishes P5

What Happened?

- Lewis and Valtteri lined up first and second on the grid, on the UltraSoft tyre, and led the way into the first corner.

- The Safety Car was deployed on the opening lap after an incident between Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg.

- Shortly after the restart, Kimi Raikkonen's stranded Ferrari promoted the Virtual Safety Car to appear and the team opted to stop Lewis on lap eight for SuperSofts.

- Valtteri took over the lead, before pitting on lap 16 for SuperSofts. This moved the yet-to-stop Daniel Ricciardo to the front of the pack.

- When Daniel stopped on lap 33, Lewis returned to the lead and controlled the remainder of the race.

- Valtteri struggled in the closing stages and slipped down the order, before putting for a second time on lap 41 for UltraSofts.

- Lewis crossed the line to secure his 73rd victory and fourth win at the Yas Marina Circuit, while Valtteri finished P5.

What Did We Learn?

"A great result for the team," said Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin. "We came here to win, so it's fantastic to have achieved that objective.

"It's been our toughest year for a long time, Ferrari pushed us hard in both Championships and we've been running at 100% on both the chassis and engine sides almost since the word go, so it's a relief to get to the end and immensely satisfying that we've managed to hang onto both Championships for another year.

"It was another great race from Lewis, he's not backed off one bit since winning the Championship in Mexico and has worked as hard to win this race as every other race so well done on another deserved result.

"Valtteri had an issue during the race when he locked up at Turn 5 and then lost positions. We'll have to a look into that to understand it as his race was all going to plan until that point and he was managing everything well.

"I'm sure Valtteri is looking forward to 2019, this year started well for him but he's had some cruel luck since Baku. He's been such an important part of the team through this year and we'll work hard over the next few months to make sure we can deliver him a reliable and fast car next year.

"I'd also like to thank Tony Ross for all his hard work over the last eight years. Tony will play a big part in our Formula E programme next year. He has contributed so much to the past five Constructors Championship, and Nico's Drivers' Championship, so we will all be sad to see him go but happy we've had the chance to enjoy so much success together."

What We’re Saying

Lewis: "This has been a great year and I'm so thankful for so many things - for my health, for my team, for all the hard work everyone's done non-stop at the factory and on the road.

"I also want to say thank you to all the fans who've saved up and travelled and came to the races and those supporting us from home and who've been sending their positive energies and their prayers - a big, big thank you to everyone.

"This year has been a very uplifting experience for me. I wanted to come here and make sure that I left no stone unturned; the team did an exceptional job all year long, so I really wanted to deliver for them and end the season off strong. I think I was able to do that and I'm really grateful for all the support throughout the entire year.

"I've been able to be a better me all year long and I will continue to try to work on that and try to work on the energy that I'm projecting to people. I had a lot of fun in the car today - I love driving, I loved driving every minute today and I hope I have many more days to go."

Valtteri: "It would have been nice to have a better ending to the season, but this race probably sums up the year pretty well - it started off well but then it went downhill from there.

"Everything felt pretty good in the beginning of the race, but then I had a lockup into Turn 5 and Turn 8 and lost some ground. I was struggling with the brakes and I also had a slow puncture after I my contact with Max, so I had to pit a second time.

"Max and I touched, it was proper battle and hard racing, but it was all fair. The last laps after the pit stop felt pretty long because I knew I couldn't gain any positions.

"This season didn't go the way I had hoped, so I'm actually quite happy that it's over. I will be pretty busy in the next couple of weeks, but I'm looking forward to a bit of a break in December and a fresh start in 2019. I will analyse everything from this season to come back stronger next year."

Toto: "This has been an exceptional year for Mercedes motorsport - we've managed to clinch the title with Mick Schumacher in F3 and with George Russell in F2, we won the Championships in DTM, in Esports and of course in Formula One.

"This year has been a highlight and I'm very happy we finished it on a high as well. It was a tough battle all season long and we had to push ourselves to the limit to win both Championships. Lewis pushed to the very last race despite having won the drivers' title in Mexico.

"He's just so much a part of this team that the driver title alone felt incomplete to him; instead he wanted to deliver for the team, win the constructors' trophy and not take his foot of the throttle until the season was over. He drove another great race today and was in control on every single lap.

"Valtteri was struggling with the brakes today; we're still investigating the issue but we could see that the balance of his car was off. Valtteri had a tough season and I understand that he is disappointed - once the Championship opportunity is taken away, it gets very difficult for a driver. He will take the winter to recharge his batteries and come back stronger next year."