Summary: Lewis Hamilton finished another superb season with a win that adds a cherry on the icing of his World Title cake.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a microcosm of the season that has unfolded over the course of 2018. Lewis Hamilton cruised over the finish line in first place, with Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari trailing behind.

With the destination of this year's drivers and constructors' championships already decided before the last race at the Yas Marina Circuit, there was nothing much at stake beyond one race win, but Hamilton's determination to go out on a high had been there right from practice as he gained pole position yet again.

There was drama, of course, arising from Hamilton's early pit stop that lost him several places - which he made up as his rivals went in for their tyre changes - as well as the dramatic crash from which Nico Hulkenberg thankfully walked free - a testimony to the high safety standards of today's cars.

Ultimately, however, the sight on the podium was highly familiar, bar Hamilton displaying his bare torso as he was sprayed with entirely non-alcoholic champagne.

It was his fifth title overall and fourth in the Mercedes, leading to some simply saying his success is all about the car. While that is partly true, however, it would be to fail to recognise a supreme talent who gets more out of the tools at his disposal than just about anyone else.

Indeed, Hamilton's determination to finish on a high left him with 408 points - an all time high for any F1 driver. Of course, this comes with a range of caveats, as the numbers in both the points system and number of races have both been raised. Even so, it was a demonstration of some extraordinary dominance, not least as midway through the season the title looked to be in the balance.

For Hamilton, a fifth title puts him level with Juan Manuel Fangio on five titles, and just two behind Michael Schumacher on seven. While Fangio's haul was achieved in just seven seasons - with two runners-up spots in the other years - Hamilton has achieved his feat while competing against four-time winner Vettel and two-time winner Fernando Alonso, the Briton's former McLaren team-mate who now disappears into retirement.

Speaking after he clinched the title in Mexico, Hamilton had insisted he did not have his eyes on Schumacher's record. Yet it is hard to imagine that he would not start thinking that way should he pass Fangio next year. Before the US Grand Prix in Houston, Hamilton spoke warmly of the Argentine legend as the "godfather" of the sport, and will no doubt say likewise of Schumacher if and when he has a seventh title in sight. At 33, he undoubtedly has the time and the team to do it.

All this has left Vettel frustrated in his quest for a fifth title of his own. For so long, this season all looked promising, until he was defeated by a combination of Hamilton's skill and the improvements the Mercedes engineers were able to produce.

"It has been quite an exhausting year for me. I definitely need a bit of a gap," he commented after the race in Abu Dhabi. He added that he would come back "very, very hungry" in 2019.

The problem for him, and anyone else with designs on the driver's title, is that Hamilton is sure to do likewise.



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