Lewis Hamilton sets record for number of F1 wins as Mercedes dominate

• Mercedes driver hails ‘superb’ performance • The great race in Abu Dhabi ends with Lewis Hamilton driving in his 50th grand prix

Lewis Hamilton has matched Michael Schumacher’s record for number of grand prix wins as his Mercedes team take victory in the Formula One season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton is also the defending champion, and was presented with a placard bearing the words “Season 46” as he celebrated his fifth title at the Yas Marina circuit.

Hamilton also equalled Schumacher’s mark of five titles, a mark he will retire from in December after achieving it with a victory in the Mercedes home race at Silverstone.

“These are the moments you dream of when you are a kid,” Hamilton said. “The adrenaline pumping through my veins and the feeling I get is what I was doing on the grassy knoll in Barcelona [that day at the 2014 French Grand Prix]. It’s truly a feeling of elation, and I can’t describe it. I think it’s the greatest feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”

F1 champ Lewis Hamilton wins the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP Read more

Hamilton’s fellow Briton Jenson Button, his former team-mate, led the tributes to Hamilton.

“Congrats @LewisHamilton for equalling one of my biggest dreams & surpassing Michael Schumacher’s 5x record in F1,” Button tweeted. “I would never have believed you when you first came into the team and no one told you that. Best of luck for next year’s title.”

Hamilton finished 0.5 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who suffered a collision with Force India’s Esteban Ocon.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the race and posted the fastest time in the closing stages. However, he was not able to take advantage of an advantage of 0.14sec gained by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who collided with Haas’ Romain Grosjean in the closing stages.

Red Bull appear to have broken down and cannot repeat what they did in Singapore at the end of September, when Verstappen won the race but Ricciardo suffered an engine failure.

The result means Ricciardo will finish lower than 10th in the championship for the first time in his seven years as a Grand Prix driver.

Mercedes had also had a miserable season as Hamilton’s arch-rival Vettel won five of the season’s 15 races. But the team pulled off a remarkable comeback, engineering a 1.3sec upgrade for Abu Dhabi, bringing Valtteri Bottas alongside the now retired Nico Rosberg and the duo closed the gap at the top to just three points heading into the final race.

“Congratulations to the team. A fantastic job,” Hamilton said. “I believe we have knocked the cake out of the bag. A brilliant year.”

Hamilton had become the first driver to win five titles since the late Nigel Mansell in 1992. Only Alain Prost has won more in F1 than Hamilton’s six.

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