• Charles Leclerc ran second in the early laps, ahead of Verstappen, but slipped back to third.
• Hamilton’s victory was his 11th of the 21 races that have been held this season, and equals his previous best performance, achieved in 2014 and 2018.
Lewis Hamilton dominated the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to end the season in which he won a sixth world drivers’ title on a high.
The Mercedes driver led away from pole position and cruised off in the distance, untroubled by anyone behind.
In a soporific race, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took a comfortable second after Ferrari slipped backwards.
Charles Leclerc ran second in the early laps, ahead of Verstappen, but slipped back to third.
Leclerc held off an attack from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages, the Finn right on his gearbox on the final lap, after an excellent race from the back of the grid.
But Leclerc could yet lose third place as Ferrari are under investigation for a fuel discrepancy before the race - the amount Ferrari said was in his car being different from the amount that was when it was measured by governing body the FIA.
Hamilton’s victory was his 11th of the 21 races that have been held this season, and equals his previous best performance, achieved in 2014 and 2018. It also moves his career total to 84 wins, just seven behind the all-time record held by Michael Schumacher.
It sets the 34-year-old Briton up to potentially exceed Schumacher’s win tally and match his all-time record of seven world championships in 2020.
He was in a race of his own from the start, quickly pulling a sizeable gap over Leclerc and never looking under any threat thereafter.
Hamilton, who tied up the title last month at the US Grand Prix, said: “I’m proud but just super-grateful for this incredible team and all at Mercedes who have continued to push this year. Even though we had the championship won we wanted to keep our head down and see if we could extract more from this beautiful car.”
Leclerc initially appeared to have an advantage over Verstappen but his race began to fall apart when Ferrari decided to call him in for a pit stop on lap 12, early for his starting tyre choice of the medium compound.
Verstappen ran 13 laps longer before his first stop and quickly caught and passed Leclerc form four seconds back when he rejoined, despite a problem with his engine’s throttle response. Leclerc switched on to a two-stop strategy and finished third, measuring his pace to hold off Bottas.
The Finn’s task was made harder by the fact that the DRS overtaking aid was not operating for the first 18 laps of the race because of a technical problem.
But he made good progress anyway and by the second part of the race he was pressuring Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Alexander Albon behind the top three. Vettel pitted out of Bottas’ way and then Bottas passed Albon on track.
Mercedes had hopes that Leclerc’s new soft tyres, fitted at his second pit stop, might fade in the closing laps, but Leclerc did enough to just hang on, despite his car’s high tyre usage. Vettel, who dropped to sixth when he made a second stop on the same lap as Leclerc, homed in on Albon in the closing stages and passed him for fifth with two laps to go.