Hamilton enjoys mother's day after Vettel spins off

British driver overcomes troubled year to beat old rival Alonso and triumph on his mum's birthday

Yas Marina Circuit

In a private moment played out amid the very public euphoria in the McLaren camp in Abu Dhabi's twilight yesterday, Lewis Hamilton's mother Carmen stood momentarily alone, wiping away her tears. Birthday presents come no better than the one that her son had just given her, after scoring a totally dominant – and much-needed – victory in the penultimate grand prix of his punishing season. Her tears were not for herself but because she was overjoyed that the tide of misfortune had so dramatically turned for her boy.

"He so deserved this," she said quietly, and even Fernando Alonso, the only man capable of keeping Hamilton honest over the 55 laps after polesitter Sebastian Vettel had made a rare and spectacular exit on only the second corner of the opening lap, agreed that the McLaren man had been in complete control.

Vettel vaulted into the lead from his Nigel Mansell-equalling 14th pole position of the season. But by the second corner the unthinkable happened. Vettel's Red Bull suddenly twitched into a spin, its right rear Pirelli tyre somehow peeled from the wheel rim.

"I saw immediately that something had happened to Seb's tyre and made sure I wasn't there to be collected if he came back on the track," Hamilton said. The world champion was done for the day, however, limping back to the pits where damage was sufficiently serious to make him the first retirement.

After that Hamilton, so often pilloried for his incidents with Felipe Massa and, of late, overshadowed by super-smooth team-mate Jenson Button, simply stamped his authority on the race. Alonso slipped ahead of Mark Webber round the outside of turn one, made another place when Vettel disappeared and then slipstreamed past Button on the opening lap.

That set the scene for a mano-a-mano contest between the two drivers who had had such a volatile relationship at McLaren in 2007. Hamilton quickly opened a gap, then Alonso would chip away at it. They each made their first pit stop on the 16th lap, whereupon Hamilton opened a bigger lead until the Spaniard ran two laps longer before stopping for his second tyre change on the 43rd. That was the most dangerous point for McLaren, but the intervention ahead of Alonso of Daniel Ricciardo's HRT as the Spaniard pitted did not help his cause, and by the time he rejoined Hamilton was back in front.

"We knew we might be able to overtake McLaren in that stop," Alonso said. "Or that it could be very close, but even with the HRT being in front of me going into the pits, my pace on the medium-compound tyres would have made it difficult to stay in front of Lewis. Maybe we lost the opportunity to be close, but I don't think we lost the victory there."

With Button hampered by intermittent operation of his KERS system, leaving him continually to reset it, and Webber delayed in his first stop, Hamilton sped to what he described as one of his best victories, his only worry the erratic behaviour of some back markers.

"I feel fantastic," he said, his old smile back after all the months of angst. "I was looking after the tyres, managing the gap and the team did a fantastic job in the pit stops. It's very rare to get the opportunity to control a race, but we had the pace and were able to put the laps in and keep the gap the same or pull more out. At one stage Fernando was pulling the gap, after starting slower than me in each stint, but nonetheless I'm very happy how it went. I'm ecstatic and happy to be back here. I can get my flight tonight and smile."

His triumph makes it three-all in the victory stakes with Button, even if he cannot now beat the latter to second place overall. "It's one of my best races in terms of my own performance," added Hamilton. "I didn't make any mistakes, and after the things that have been going on, the pressure I've been under, all the doubt that surrounded me, I feel proud to come out on top. And it being my Mum's birthday makes it even better."

Abu Dhabi details

FIA Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, UAE

1 L Hamilton (GB) McLaren 1hr 37min 11.886sec

2 F Alonso (Sp) Ferrari 1:37:20.343

3 J Button (GB) McLaren 1:37:37.767

4 M Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:37:47.670

5 F Massa (Br) Ferrari 1:38:02.464

6 N Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:38:04.203

7 M Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:38:27.850

8 A Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:38:29.008

9 P di Resta (GB) Force India 1:38:52.973

10 K Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber-Ferrari at 1 lap

11 S Perez (Mex) Sauber-Ferrari at 1 lap; 12 R Barrichello (Br) Williams at 1 lap; 13 V Petrov (Rus) Renault at 1 lap; 14 P Maldonado (Ven) Williams at 1 lap; 15 J Alguersuari (Sp) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 lap; 16 B Senna (Br) Renault at 1 lap; 17 H Kovalainen (Fin) Lotus F1 at 1 lap; 18 J Trulli (It) Lotus F1 at 2 laps; 19 T Glock (Ger) Virgin Racing at 2 laps; 20 V Liuzzi (It) HRT-F1 at 2 laps. Not classified: 21 D Ricciardo (Aus) HRT-F1 48 laps completed; 22 S Buemi (Swit) Scuderia Toro Rosso 19 Laps completed; 23 J d'Ambrosio (Bel) Virgin Racing 18 laps completed; 24 S Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1 lap completed.

World Championship Standings

1 Vettel 374pts

2 Button 255

3 Alonso 245

4 Webber 233

5 Hamilton 227

6 Massa 108

7 Rosberg 83

8 Schumacher 76

9 Petrov 36

10 N Heidfeld (Ger) Renault 34

11 Sutil 34; 12 Kobayash 28; 13 Alguersuari 26; 14 Di Resta23; 15 Buemi 15; 16 Perez 14; 17 Barrichello 4; 18 Senna 2; 19 Maldonado 1; 20 P de la Rosa 0; 21 Trulli 0; 22 Kovalainen 0; 23 Liuzzi 0; 24 D'Ambrosio 0; 25 Glock 0; 26 Ricciardo 0; 27 N Karthikeyan (India) HRT-F1 0; 28 K Chandhok (India) Lotus F1 0.

Manufacturers

1 Red Bull 607pts

2 McLaren 482

3 Ferrari 353

4 Mercedes GP 159; 5 Renault 72; 6 Force India 57; 7 Sauber-Ferrari 42; 8 Scuderia Toro Rosso 41; 9 Williams 5; 10 Lotus F1 0; 11 HRT-F1 0; 12 Virgin Racing 0.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on