The curtain came down on the 2017 F1 season in Abu Dhabi on Sunday when Mercedes capped off another fine campaign with a fittingly dominant one-two finish.
Valtteri Bottas registered his third win of 2017 as he beat world champion Lewis Hamilton into second place.
Bottas qualified on pole and drove away at the start to take an early lead. With Hamilton safely in second, the Brackley-based Mercedes racers were unchallenged to the chequered flag.
Also victorious at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia and in Austria, Bottas said: “This was not the most exciting race of the season I know, but for me I was very happy to score another victory to add to the earlier two.
“It has been a great season driving for Mercedes and I am proud to play my part as a member of this great squad.”
Having failed to finish in the points on only two occasions this year, Bottas narrowly missed out on taking the runners-up place, with that award going the way of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel courtesy of his five race wins.
Vettel said: “We have seen some good battles this year in the championship and at Ferrari we are already working hard on 2018. We want to be able to really take the battle to Mercedes.”
Hamilton, winner of his fourth world title this year, was critical of the Abu Dhabi track but praised his team-mate:”Valtteri drove well to win and I congratulate him.
“For the team this was another great race and we ended the season with a one-two and that was pretty special. It will be a party for a few days I am sure as we all take in this great success and the end of another year.
“I feel this track doesn’t suit F1 too well though, and some changes need to be made possibly. The layout isn’t the best for racing and when this track hosts the final race of the year we need to put on a good show.”
Like Mercedes, the Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon gave their excellent season the finish it deserved by scooping seventh and eighth on Sunday, taking their combined points total to 187.
Perez said: “I would really like to thank everyone at Sahara Force India for this amazing season. We have seen some great races and everyone did an amazing job.
“I’m looking forward to the off season, but my main aim is to return next year in a stronger position to score good results for the team.”
Completing his first full season of F1 racing, Ocon said: “Force India did a great job this year and I was pleased to be part of this team. I am already keen to improve next year.”
Part Bicester-based Toro Rosso completed their season with a final race as a Renault supplied team. The local squad switch to Honda powerplants next season, and are to retain the driving services of newly recruited pairing Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley.
The duo were out of luck in Aby Dhabi on Sunday, but Gasly said: “We start a new era in 2018 with Honda engines, and we will all be working very hard to make everything as good as possible for the new season.”