Sebastian Vettel bounced back from his world championship disappointment in fine style on Sunday when he won a sunlit Brazilian Grand Prix for Ferrari.
The four-time champion took the lead at the start and, apart from a period after his pit-stop, controlled an incident-packed race to finish 2.8 seconds ahead of pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes.
Another Finn Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, resisted late challenges from newly-crowned four-time champion Lewis Hamilton to hang on to third ahead of the second Mercedes driver, who had started the race from the pit lane.
Dutchman Max Verstappen came home fifth ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo and retirement-bound local hero Felipe Massa, a rousing seventh for Williams in his final home city race.
The Brazilian emerged triumphant in his own private scrap to the line with two-time champion Fernando Alonso of McLaren Honda, who finished eighth.
Mexican Sergio Perez finished ninth for Force India and German Nico Hulkenberg 10th for Renault.
Valtteri Bottas secured the third pole position of his career on Saturday after his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton had crashed in the opening minutes of an incident-filled qualifying session for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Finn clocked a best lap time of one minute and 8.322 seconds in the final seconds to outpace his nearest rival four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari by 0.038 seconds.
Hamilton, who clinched his fourth title in Mexico two weeks ago, lost control and hit the barriers on his first flying lap after only two minutes.
He was unhurt and is expected to start the race from the back of the grid.
“I’m okay. It happened really quickly. I tend to just look at it as challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them makes life meaningful,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.
“I just need to take whatever bubble of negativity comes from that experience and move forwards and try and grow from it.
“It’s very unusual from me but it shows we are all human and things happen.”
Bottas said he felt a responsibility to the team after Hamilton’s shock early exit.
“It feels good,” said Bottas, who also took pole at the Azerbaijan and Austrian Grands Prix earlier this season.
“I am still a bit shaken, but it is a good feeling. It was a nice lap, but it was close with Sebastian (Vettel).
“It was a shame that Lewis is out, a shame for us, but I stood up for the team and it is good to start from pole position here.”
Another Finn Kimi Raikkonen qualified third in the second Ferrari ahead of Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who faces a grid penalty for the race.
Sergio Perez was sixth for Force India ahead of resurgent two-time champion Fernando Alonso of McLaren Honda, Nico Hulkenberg and his Renault team-mate Carlos Sainz.
Retirement-bound local hero Felipe Massa of Williams was 10th.
The 2017 Drivers’ Championship may have been wrapped up thanks to Lewis Hamilton’s determined performance in Mexico, but Yas Marina Circuit is still guaranteed to be yet another successful weekend of sport and entertainment.
With Hamilton’s title in the bag, attention now switches to the fight for second and third place; Germany’s Sebastian Vettel and Finland’s Valtteri Bottas, who drive for Ferrari and Mercedes respectively, will be locked in an on-track duel around Yas Marina Circuit.
As a result, organisers have revealed that many ticket categories have already sold out, with more expected to follow in the coming weeks until race weekend, and are urging race goers to purchase soon or risk missing out.
Positioned with views of the start and finish line, team garages and Pit Lane activity, the Main Grandstand is always a much sought-after spot among racing fans and this year has proved no exception, with all available Main Grandstand tickets already purchased.
Yas Marina Circuit also revealed that demand is very strong across all ticket categories with West Grandstand 3-day, North Grandstand 2-day and fan favourite Abu Dhabi Hill 2- and 3-day tickets also having sold out.
This year promises another record sell out weekend and limited time remains to make sure you enjoy the region’s biggest and best sporting and entertainment weekend.
As always, the only way to enjoy the four Yasalam After-Race Concert performances will be to purchase a ticket for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix & new this year the public to upgrade their weekend with Golden Circle Upgrades available to purchase for the After-Race Concerts from AED 195
Tickets are still available online at www.yasmarinacircuit.com and through the Yas Marina Circuit Call Centre (800 927) or +971 (0) 2 659 9800, as well as through all Etihad Shops and Virgin Megastores.