19th win of the season for Verstappen

Mercedes beat Ferrari to second in the constructors' championship

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 takes the chequered flag during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202311260239 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen finished his third title-winning season with his 19th race win of the year at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver didn’t come under too much pressure at the front of the field, with Charles Leclerc and George Russell joining him on the podium.

Leclerc had a couple of looks as he tried to move ahead of Verstappen in the early stages, but the Ferrari didn’t have the pace to pull off the overtake.

After an impressive qualifying, Oscar Piastri came under early pressure from his teammate, with Norris moving up to third, before George Russell also got the better of the Australian.

Fernando Alonso was the first of the drivers to stop for new tyres, just 13 laps into the race, forcing Piastri to follow to avoid being undercut.

Norris followed a couple of laps later, but two tyres were slow to go on, costing the Briton time in the pitlane and dropping him behind Russell.

Having missed out on a place in the top 10 in qualifying, Lewis Hamilton looked to make progress up the order, but Pierre Gasly locked up in front of him, leaving the Mercedes with nowhere to go as Hamilton made contact with the rear of the Alpine, causing damage to his front wing.

Verstappen pitted from the lead a lap earlier than Leclerc, and soon started to open up a comfortable advantage at the front.

Norris was the first of the front runners to stop for a second time, forcing Mercedes to bring Russell in straight after, with the Mercedes drivier just coming out in front of the McLaren.

Perez was the last driver challenging for a podium to make his second stop, leaving him on fresher tyres than those ahead of him. He tried to find a way past Norris, but the two came together, allowing Norris to stay ahead temporarily.

A lap later, Perez did get the move done, but he was handed a five-second time penalty for causing the collision with Norris.

Perez got past Russell with four laps to go, knowing with the penalty that he’d need to open up a gap to hold on to third.

Aware of the battle behind, Leclerc dropped back in a bid to try to help Perez build a five-second gap over Russell to try to stop Mercedes beating Ferrari to second in the constructors championship, but Russell had enough pace to secure third for himself, and second for the team.

Provisional classification:

1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

3. George Russell (Mercedes)

4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

5. Lando Norris (McLaren)

6. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

7. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)

8. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)

9. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

11. Daniel Ricciardo (AlphaTauri)

12. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

13. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

14. Alex Albon (Williams)

15. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)

16. Logan Sargeant (Williams)

17. Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo)

18. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

19. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)

20. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

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