The final race of the season in Abu Dhabi started with the battle in top 3. On the first lap the drivers kept their positions. However already on the next one Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc fought for P2, where Charles won.
On the second lap of the race there was a clash between two Racing Point cars and Pierre Gasly. The contact was from Lance Stroll that twisted Pierre into Sergio Perez as he came out of Turn 1. Gasly lost his front wing and Perez left his rear part of the car on the track.
Meanwhile Valtteri Bottas, who started from the back of the grid, was getting closer to top 10. By 8th lap the driver was already in P11, right behind Perez.
Charles Leclerc, who overtook Verstappen at the beginning of the race, was told by the team to "push as hard as he can". Apparently the team bet on him this race since Sebastian Vettel still coudn't pass Verstappen, stuck in P4. Leclerc in his turn was complaining about the wheel vibrations and asking the team to check his tyres.
Despite Yas Marina circuit is difficult for overtaking and moreover DRS was disable due to technical issues, Valtteri Bottas was doing strong breakthrough, and thanks to the rivals' pit stops was in P5 by 14th lap.
The Scuderia Ferrari drivers were first among the leaders who opened a wave of the pit stops. Leclerc went to the pits first and came back the fourth on the track. Sebastian Vettel wasn't so lucky as his teammate: mechanics made a hitch and he lost plenty of time. After the stop Sebastian came back on the track in P6. Both drivers got Hard tyres.
On 18th lap Bottas overtook Vettel. At the end of that lap DRS was enabled again, what allowed Valtteri passed Nico Hulkenberg and run after Leclerc. Sebastian Vettel couldn't get closer to Valtteri even with DRS, and was pursued by Alex Albon.
As for the leader of the race, before the pit stop Lewis Hamilton had some problems with tyres, and was saying to the team that "if the safety car comes out and I have to pit for the Hard tyres, I can't get the temperature into it and then we are in trouble." However, Hamilton's engineer Bono reassured him, suggesting everyone will be in a similar situation.
On 26th lap Hamilton went to the pits to change Soft on Hards. The driver didn't lose time and came back on the track the leader.
By the half of the race distance, 27th lap, top 10 looked like: HAM-LEC-VER-BOT-VET-ALB-PER-KVY-NOR-HUL.
There were no changes in top 3 due to pit stops or overtakes. Max Verstappen stuck in P3, he was speaking to the team he "has some problems with the brakes".
The "box time" for Valtteri Bottas happened on 30th lap. There were no surprises in choosing of the tyres, the driver took Hard and came back 6th.
Despite all complainings on tyres and brakes work from Verstappen, he managed to overtake Leclerc on 33rd lap and icrease the gap. Meanwhile Charles offered the idea of Plan C, which could mean a switch to Softs. Indeed, on lap 39th the driver went to the pits and came back on the track on Softs, in the same position - P3. His teammate Sebastian also visited boxes, but changed the tyres on Meduims and came back in P6. Verstappen was very excited by Ferrari's strategy and resented on the team radio.
7 laps to the finish Lance Stroll had to drop out of the race. As for other participants of the midfield, Lando Norris, Sergio Perez, Daniil Kvyat and Nico Hulkenberg showed a solid performance during the race, while their teammates were out of the points.
One lap to the finish Alex Albon tried to overtake Sebastian Vettel, but the German back the position.
Within the 5 last laps top 3 hadn't changed. The final podium was made up by representatives of three teams: Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
The full results of the Abu Dhabi race:
RACE CLASSIFICATION— Formula 1 (@F1) December 1, 2019
Confirmation of Lewis Hamilton's victory, ahead of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc
Valtteri Bottas finished in P4 after starting from the back of the grid#AbuDhabi2019 🇦🇪 #F1 pic.twitter.com/Ifg7yAiL2R