Lewis Hamilton wins incident-filled Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in F1 finale

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Lewis Hamilton celebrates with a trophy after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as second place Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel looks on. (Reuters)
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US actor Will Smith waves the checkered flag as Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton crosses the finish line during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit. (AFP)
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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leads at the first corner after the start during the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina racetrack in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. (AP)
Updated 25 November 2018

Lewis Hamilton wins incident-filled Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in F1 finale

ABU DHABI: New five-time champion Lewis Hamilton claimed his 11th win of the season on Sunday when he guided his Mercedes around the Yas Marina Circuit for a well-judged triumph in an incident-filled season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who started at the front of the grid from an 83rd-career pole position, came home 2.5 seconds ahead of his main title rival four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
Hamilton’s victory completed a season of total dominance for the Englishman. 
“I am so happy right now,” he said, before praising Vettel. “I know next year he’s going to come back stronger. Whatever people say, we always do our best.”
Vettel responded generously.
“He deserves to be champion,” Vettel said. “It’s been a tough year and I tried until the last lap.”
The win came after a race that began with an horrific opening lap crash from which Nico Hulkenberg escaped unhurt, his blazing Renault car having barrel-rolled into the barriers after a clash with Haas driver Romain Grosjean.
Grosjean has a reputation as one of F1’s more reckless — or adventurous — drivers. He caused the crash by clipping the right rear tire of Hulkenberg’s car, sending it tipping upward, barreling over and sliding on its back. As some smoke billowed from the car, a fearful-sounding Hulkenberg urged his team to get him out fast.
“I’m hanging here like a cow,” he said. “There’s fire. There’s fire.”
A concerned Grosjean asked about Hulkenberg’s condition on his radio. Stewards took no action against Grosjean, deeming it a racing incident.
“I was very sorry for him, but there was nowhere I could go,” Grosjean said.
Carlos Sainz came home sixth for Renault ahead of Ferrari-bound Charles Leclerc of Sauber, Sergio Perez of Force India, Romain Grosjean, who had tangled with Hulkenberg on the opening lap, and his Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
Retirement-bound two-time champion Fernando Alonso could only manage an 11th place for McLaren in his 311th and farewell appearance. The Spaniard, who started 15th, was just not quick enough to get any more out of his car.
He did manage one last piece of radio magic, though, when an engineer in the closing laps said: “Go and get a point.”
Alonso replied: “I’ve already got 1,800.”
A single point would have taken him up to 1,900, but he could not overtake Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.
Alonso was not helped by a five-second time penalty for cutting a corner when he missed his braking point pushing while chasing the Dane.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to race in the same era as him,” Hamilton said. “The sport will miss him, we will miss him.”
Alonso has already confirmed he will use his retirement to pursue non-racing interests.
Meanwhile, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen finished third in the race ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo for a fifth straight podium.
Verstappen overtook Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas to finish fourth overall behind Kimi Raikkonen, who retired early into his final race for Ferrari.
Verstappen and Ricciardo made light work of overtaking Bottas, who finished fifth, raising questions again about the Finnish driver’s ability to withstand pressure in a season where he has not won.


Thiem into ATP Finals semis as Djokovic and Federer face shootout

Updated 13 November 2019

Thiem into ATP Finals semis as Djokovic and Federer face shootout

  • Austrian fifth seed took fight to the world No. 2, recovering from losing the first set to triumph

LONDON: Dominic Thiem produced a scintillating display of attacking tennis to beat Novak Djokovic and qualify for the last four at the ATP Finals on Tuesday, leaving the Serbian facing a shootout against Roger Federer.

In the standout match so far at London’s O2 Arena, the Austrian fifth seed took the fight to the world No. 2, recovering from losing the first set to triumph 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)

Earlier, Federer put himself back in the mix at the end-of-season event with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 win against Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini in their round-robin clash.

Federer and Djokovic will face off on Thursday in a repeat of this year’s Wimbledon final to determine who else will progress from Group Bjorn Borg.

Thiem was forced to play high-stakes tennis against the 16-time Grand Slam winner, taking the breath away with some of his inside-out forehands and single-handed backhands

Forced to play at his limit, he hit 50 winners compared with Djokovic’s tally of 27 but also racked up 44 unforced errors.

“This was really one of these special matches, what I’ve practiced all my life for, all my childhood for,” Thiem said.

“Really epic one in an amazing atmosphere, beating a legend of our game. And also I’ve qualified for the semifinals, which is the best.

“Coming back from 1-4 (down in the deciding tie-break) was a little bit of luck, but it was an unbelievable match and one I’ll never forget. Novak is the best player in the world and I had to do something special.”

In a captivating first set the players swapped a break apiece but Djokovic, a five-time ATP Finals champion, edged the tie-break.

Undaunted, Thiem broke his opponent at the first opportunity in the second set and, with Djokovic’s error count climbing, went on to level the match.

Thiem also drew first blood in the decider but cracked in the sixth game as Djokovic levelled the match and appeared to have engineered a switch in momentum.

The Austrian successfully challenged at 30-30 in the 10th game after his forehand was ruled out, preventing a match point for Djokovic and he toughed it out to level at 5-5.

He then broke Djokovic to love to earn a chance to serve for the match but stumbled and the decider went to a tie-break.

Still the drama was not finished. Thiem slipped to 4-1 down but battled back to win it on his second match point when Djokovic dumped a forehand into the net.

Third seed Federer had put himself under the cosh by losing his opening round-robin match to Thiem. The six-time champion was not at his fluent best on Tuesday but ultimately had too much for his Italian opponent.

The Swiss upped his game to take the first set tie-break comfortably and broke immediately at the start of the second set to leave the big-serving Berrettini with too much to do.

Federer was asked after his win against Berrettini whether his defeat to Djokovic at Wimbledon had left emotional or mental scars.

“We’ll find out, but I think it’s all flushed away from my side,” said the Swiss.

“A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.”

Djokovic is hunting a sixth ATP Finals title to pull level with Federer’s record and is also seeking to pip Rafael Nadal to the year-end number one ranking.

On Monday, top seed Nadal lost his opener in Group Andre Agassi to defending champion Alexander Zverev while Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Daniil Medvedev.