At the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix, the twenty-second and final race of the season, the title was no longer at stake. The Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) has enjoyed, since the beginning of October (in Japan), the two-time championship. For this reason, the interest in the Yas Marina circuit was focused on who would be the runner-up: the Mexican Sergio Pérez, Red Bull’s second driver, or the Monegasque Charles Leclerc, from Ferrari. And it was the latter, the driver of the Italian team, who prevailed and ended up generating a positive shock for those from Maranello in the midst of so much criticism.
Verstappen celebrated his third consecutive victory, his fifteenth of the season, a record figure in the top category, but Red Bull could not celebrate with Checo Pérez, who came level on points with Leclerc to the last challenge. The Monegasque finished second in the Drivers’ Championship, a scenario that was repeated with Ferrari in the Constructors’ Cup (behind Red Bull) thanks also to the fourth place obtained in Abu Dhabi by the Spanish Carlos Sainz.
Leclerc resisted harassment in the final stretch from Pérez, with whom he came tied on 290 points in the general table, and managed to confirm his second final position in the World Cup. Ferrari has been criticized so much for its strategic failures during the year, but this time, everything went as expected for the Italian team. On lap 34, 24 from the end, Red Bull decided -abruptly- to enter the Mexican into the pits, instead of waiting to see what Ferrari did with Leclerc, but the action was wrong, the Monegasque took advantage of it (he had a single stop against two of his rival) and frustrated the Red Bull team’s attempt to make it 1-2 at the end of the season
Leclerc’s runner-up may seem like a minor prize, but nevertheless it leaves a good taste in the mouth for those from Maranello and represents some relief for a questioned Mattia Binotto, of whom it is not known for sure if he will continue as an engineer in 2023.
Likewise, the seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, saw his hopes of keeping his record of winning a race each season intact due to a failure in the hydraulic system. The Briton entered the pits to retire with just a few laps to go before the end of the race.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, consummated his sixth retirement of the year after his engine said enough on lap 28, a sad farewell to his third spell with Renault, now as Alpine.
The 22nd and last F1 test of the year
This twenty-second round of the Formula 1 season also marked the last Grand Prix for four-time German world champion Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin).
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.