Hamilton’s win under the lights of the Yas Marina circuit, aided by a Mercedes tactical masterstroke after they called the British driver in for an early change of tyres, was the 11th of his championship-winning year, with Ferrari’s
Sebastian Vettel second and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen completing the podium.
But the concluding race of the 21-round season will be remembered for Hulkenberg’s opening-lap crash.
The 31-year-old German somersaulted through the air one-and-a-half times before landing the wrong way up after he collided with the Haas of Romain Grosjean through the right-handed Turn 9.
Hulkenberg was left dangling upside down, and unable to slide out of his Renault following the introduction of the halo, Formula One’s three-pronged safety device that sits above the cockpit.
“I’m hanging here like a cow,” Hulkenberg said over the radio.
“Get me out. There is a fire. There is a fire.”
British pop star Sam Smith, standing with Spice Girl Geri Horner, watched on aghast, with Hulkenberg still strapped into his Renault.
The safety marshals were quickly on the scene before the flames went out, but the German was in his car for more than three minutes during the harrowing incident.
He was assisted to the medical centre, where the sport’s governing body, the FIA, reported he was shaken. Hulkenberg was later released, with doctors confident he had escaped the collision unharmed.
The early incident saw the safety car sent out for six laps with pole-sitter Hamilton leading the pack.
Hollywood superstar Will Smith had jokingly taken Hamilton hostage before the race, tieing the world champion up, and heading to the Briton’s car in personalised Mercedes overalls.
But when Hamilton took to the machinery which propelled him to his fifth world championship with two rounds to spare, he made no mistake with a dominant display befitting of his dominant year.