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Vettel puncture leaves Hamilton to claim Grand Prix

A troubled Formula One season for Lewis Hamilton offered some consolation as the McLaren driver won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. A steady and determined drive under the floodlights secured a welcome victory.

Hamilton took the lead on lap one after the Red Bull world champion Sebastian Vettel withdrew from the race with a puncture. Vettel had seemed the man to beat after claiming a record-equalling 14th pole position of the season. He sustained the puncture on the second bend, and once the engineers had seen the damage, was forced to retire.

Late in the race, Hamilton had to hold off a sustained challenge from his old rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, but the British driver was resolute in refusing to be passed. He gave the Spaniard a consoling hug after the race.

"I'm ecstatic, very happy to be back up here," Hamilton told reporters from the podium. "It's early days yet but this is definitely the start of something hopefully very good." Hamilton’s season has been marred by a series of controversies, crashes and injudicious drives, along with criticism from the press.

Hamilton’s McLaren teammate Jenson Button took the other podium place, with Red Bull's Mark Webber in fourth. Button’s points mean that this is the first season in Formula One that Hamilton will finish behind a teammate in the drivers’ championship.

That won’t matter too much, now that he has rediscovered winning form. Hamilton might want to celebrate with some old-fashioned tunes, courtesy of Sir Paul McCartney, who is in Abu Dhabi for a show.

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