Despite already having the World Championship in the bag, Hamilton had been explicit about wanting to finish the season on a strong note. Of course, there was also the small matter of the Constructors' Championship to be decided and Ferrari had to outscore Mercedes by at least 13 points to have any chance of usurping them. However, with Hamilton claiming victory and Bottas securing fifth place, Mercedes also wrapped up their fifth consecutive Constructors' Championship in Interlagos.
After securing his fifth F1 title, there's little doubt that Lewis Hamilton has cemented himself as one of the greats of the sport. As we look to the future, the more pertinent question has to be, can anyone stop Lewis Hamilton from landing his sixth title in the 2019 season? The latest F1 odds indicate that the bookmakers certainly don't think so - Hamilton is a mere 1/1 to bring the Driver's Championship back to Britain next year, with Vettel and Verstappen at 10/3 and 4/1, respectively. Whilst Hamilton certainly had the most reliable and consistent car this year, the failings of his evidently talented teammate Valtteri Bottas have demonstrated that Hamilton knows how to use the tools at his disposal. In terms of talent, commitment and desire to win, Hamilton is currently a cut above the rest and this is reflected in the odds.
It's hard to disagree with the bookmakers in terms of who Hamilton's closest rivals will be next season. Vettel will always be a threat on pure driving ability alone and whilst Verstappen crashed out in Brazil over the weekend (calling Esteban Ocon an idiot in the process), the young Dutchman has a huge future in the sport and it's difficult to see anyone else mounting any sort of title challenge. As has been previously mentioned, Valtteri Bottas is a fine driver and may have the edge over his competitors due to the fact that he's likely to once again be driving the best car in the upcoming season. However, it remains to be seen whether Toto Wolff and co would allow this to happen, especially after recently ordering Bottas to let Hamilton pass him in Sochi.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will bring the 2018 season to a close but in reality, drivers and their respective teams are already mentally regrouping in order to go again in 2019. Whilst there are many different variables relating to next season to consider, the fact remains that Lewis Hamilton is by far the most talented driver on the grid at this moment in time. If Sebastian Vettel can rediscover the form of a few years ago then there's no reason why he can't push Hamilton close next season. However, Vettel must start by eliminating the silly mistakes that have plagued him both this season and last. In terms of Max Verstappen, we find ourselves saying that "this could be the year" but the time it takes for this to materialise is anyone's guess. Until then, Hamilton will reign supreme.