Lewis Hamilton ended his fifth title-winning season in style when he won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from pole for a record points haul. The race also saw the curtain fall on Fernando Alonso's 17-year Formula One career.
Lewis Hamilton claimed a personal record-tying 11th season victory and 73rd overall ahead of Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel in the day-to-night race which saw Nico Hülkenberg escape a big crash unhurt early on.
Former two-time world champion Fernando Alonso completed his 311th and final Formula One race in a 17-year career just outside the points in 11th place for McLaren.
Having already secured the title with two races to spare, Hamilton finished the season with a record 408 points from 21 races. Vettel had 320 and Kimi Raikkonen remained third on 251 although his last race for Ferrari ended early.
"I'm so happy right now. Thank you guys so much for all the support this year," Mercedes' Hamilton said.
"It's been a real honour and a privilege racing against Sebastian. I've known him since our Formula Three days and he's an honest driver who has always raced his heart out. There's so much pressure on us guys, so don't judge us by our faults."
Vettel, who has not won a race since August after leading early in the championship, returned the compliment.
"He's the champion and he deserves to be the champion. It's been a tough year. I tried everything until the last lap," the German said.
Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff, whose team got a fifth straight driver and constructors double, said: "It's nice to win it ëthe race like this. We wanted a positive last race."
Alonso bows out
Hamilton and Vettel formed a guard of honour for Alonso, with plenty of doughnuts from the three men who share 11 world titles between them.
"Fernando is a true legend. It's been a real privilege to race in the same era as him," Hamilton said, with Vettel adding "we will miss him."
Alonso said: "It has been pleasure racing with these champions and I feel privileged. Thanks to everyone and to Formula One, I will always be a fan of this sport."
mds/mf (AFP, Reuters)