Max Verstappen concluded the 2023 Formula 1 season with a record-breaking 19th win at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, solidifying his dominance. His strategic race management kept him ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, while George Russell secured a podium finish, ensuring Mercedes remained second in the constructors’ championship.
Catch up quick:
- Max Verstappen’s victory at Yas Marina Circuit marked his 19th win of the season, a new Formula 1 record.
- Charles Leclerc’s pursuit was strong but ultimately fell short, securing second place in the race.
- George Russell fended off Sergio Perez for third, crucial for Mercedes’ constructors’ championship position.
- Williams edged out AlphaTauri for P7 in the standings, a significant achievement for the team.
As the Abu Dhabi sun dipped below the horizon, Verstappen and Leclerc led the pack, with most top contenders on medium tires. Verstappen’s start wasn’t explosive, but it was enough to keep Leclerc at bay, who repeatedly challenged but couldn’t surpass the Red Bull’s defense.
The race was punctuated by strategic pit stops and tire management, with early stops from Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo due to various issues. Verstappen’s tire wear concerns led to a lap 17 pit stop, with teams considering two-stop strategies as tire degradation became apparent.
Amidst the pit stop ballet, Tsunoda briefly led the race, a historic moment for a Japanese driver since 2004. However, Verstappen reclaimed the lead after pit rotations, with Leclerc and Russell completing the podium positions.
Perez’s aggressive drive resulted in a five-second penalty after contact with Norris, but it didn’t deter him from overtaking Russell later on. Despite Leclerc’s tactics to help Perez gain on Russell, the Mercedes driver maintained his podium spot.
In the end, Verstappen’s win was a celebratory capstone to a season of dominance, with Red Bull achieving all their goals. As the F1 world turns its eyes to the off-season, teams will be strategizing for the next year’s challenge, starting in Bahrain.
Stay tuned for more F1 updates and analysis as we rev up for another high-octane season after the winter break.