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Four-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton fell short in his hunt to end his title-winning season on top following his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas won the season finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Brit pushed his team-mate Bottas all the way but he couldn’t find a room through while nearest rival Sebastian Vettel finished nearly 20s adrift of the champion.

Kimi Raikkonen made fourth place, 45 seconds down on Bottas, with Max Verstappen fifth. Fernando Alonso finished ninth for McLaren, one place ahead of his former Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa, who took a single point in his 269th and last grand prix before retiring.

Hamilton wasn’t the only one struggling to overtake as for the first session of the race the top 12 were running in the same order that they started.

“Impossible to pass here, man,” Hamilton said to Vettel and Bottas in the green room after the race. “I was like, ‘Where are all the friggin’ backmarkers?’ I think they’ve got to change this track.”

Once on the podium, the Merc driver paid tribute to his team-mate Bottas.

“I did [give it everything],” he. “Big congratulations to Valtteri, he did an amazing job today to hold me off.

“It’s very hard to overtake here so once I got to the last sector I struggled a little bit.

“I want to say a big thank you to the team, what they have produced for us this year is just incredible, it’s just an honour to race with them.”

Bottas, who started from pole position, led from the lights to the flag apart from a spell following his first pit stop when the four-time champion Briton was in control.

It was his third career victory, all of them recorded since he joined Mercedes to partner the 32-year-old Briton in January following the unexpected exit of 2016 champion German Nico Rosberg.

“It is a really important win for me following a difficult start to the second half of the year,” Bottas, who has been outclassed by Hamilton for much of the season, said.

“I couldn’t be happier to end the season like this. Congratulations to Lewis on winning the title, and congrats to Sebastian for finishing second in the championship.

“I was really managing the pace and that way the race. It was a nice feeling. I had one lock-up, but otherwise no issues.”

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