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The Formula One circus makes its final stop of the season in the Middle East for this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"I thought it would be tight but I really wanted to start on that tyre so that why I was able and happy to take that risk".

Hamilton performed "doughnuts" after crossing the line, before himself and former title rival Sebastian Vettel flanked the retiring two-time world champion Fernando Alonso - before all three performed more doughnuts on the start-finish straight.

Having seen off Sebastian Vettel in the past two years, Hamilton is not daunted by the prospect of Verstappen joining the party next season.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg emerged unhurt from a frightening-looking accident in which he was pitched into a roll and landed upside down in a first-lap clash with Romain Grosjean's Haas.

Behind him, Vettel had a lonely run to second place, after dispatching Hamilton's team mate Valtteri Bottas mid-race, while he was followed home by the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, Ricciardo unable to claim that podium he so dearly wanted in his 100th and final race for Red Bull before he moves to Renault.

"It was quite an emotional session for me because it's the last time I'll be qualifying in this auto", said the Hamilton.

F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg's Renault vehicle spectacularly burst into flames and flipped over following a collision with French driver Romain Grosjean on the first lap of Sunday's Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. The Renault was soon turned back onto its correct side and Hulkenberg was able to climb out of the vehicle. Only one driver went for a three-stopper, but this should change with the softer tyre nomination?

"I already have a taste for a lot more, how do you not want to continue to enjoy this?", added the 83-times race victor who has a contract with Hendrick through 2020.

The safety marshals were quickly on the scene before the flames went out, but the German was in his auto for more than three minutes during the harrowing incident.

"I thought I had Kimi for fourth but he just got me by half a tenth. I imagine he was in the blind spot of Hulkenberg there", said Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle of the accident.

The return to McLaren, unthinkable after the bitterness of 2007, came in 2015 but also coincided with the team's worst run of form and an ultimately doomed partnership with Honda that ended a year ago.