Verstappen wins 15th race of 2022 as Leclerc takes 2nd in championship

Max Verstappen wins the final race of 2022, while Charles Leclerc and Ferrari secure second place

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 20: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 20, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202211202414 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen continued his record-breaking season with a 15th victory of the year at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc secured second, which was also enough to give him second in the drivers’ championship, ahead of Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, who had to settle for third.

Ferraris results also ensured they held off Mercedes for second in the constructors’ standings.

Lewis Hamilton looked to get ahead of the Ferraris early on, passing Carlos Sainz before looking to put the pressure on Leclerc, but Sainz fought back, and the two came together, with the Mercedes having to take to the runoff and run over a kerb, briefly leaving Hamilton on two wheels before he was able to rejoin the track.

After the stewards investigated, it was decided Sainz wasn’t at fault, so Hamilton had to give the place back to Sainz.

Hamilton started to struggle for pace, allowing teammate George Russell to get ahead, before Lando Norris started to catch the seven-time champion.

Perez was the first of the front-runners to stop, but came out in the middle of a battle between Sebastian Vettel, Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, costing him time on his outlap.

There was an issue for Russell during his pitstop as the Mercedes crew had difficulties getting one of his tyres one, before releasing him into the path of Norris, who was coming in for his stop. The pair avoiding contact, but Russell was given a five-second time penalty as a result.

Leclerc was the last of the leading bunch to make his pitstops, with Ferrari hoping a longer stint would allow him to jump ahead of Perez, but it didn’t work out the Monegasque driver, as he rejoined just ahead of his teammate.

Alonso’s time with Alpine came to an early end when he was forced to retire the car midway through the race with a suspected water leak.

As drivers started to make their second pitstops, Perez was again the first of the front runners to come into the pitlane, while Hamilton started to close the gap to Russell, before the Brazilian Grand Prix winner and Sainz stopped for a second time.

Towards the rear of the field, Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi had a coming together, leaving the Canadian driver with a rear puncture and resulting in Schumacher being given a five-second time penalty.

Ferrari seemed keen to keep Leclerc on a one-stop strategy in a bid to beat Perez to second in the drivers’ championship, but on newer tyres, Perez had strong pace, and looked set to pass Leclerc before the end of the race.

But, the Mexican got stuck behind Hamilton, taking a couple of laps to get past the Mercedes before turning his attention to closing the gap to Leclerc.

Mercedes decided not to stop Hamilton for a second time, leaving him under pressure from Sainz for fourth place, but as the Ferrari closed up to the rear of Hamilton’s car, he suffered a gear issue, allowing Sainz to cruise past before Hamilton retired his car – marking Mercedes’s first mechanical DNF of the season.

Perez gap the gap down to under two seconds with two laps to go, but couldn’t get close enough to challenge Leclerc for second, ensuring the Ferrari driver took second in the drivers’ standings.

On his final lap as an F1 driver, Vettel tried to put Daniel Ricciardo under pressure for ninth place, but the Australian had enough pace to hold on in his final outing for McLaren.

Provisional classification:

1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

5. George Russell (Mercedes)

6. Lando Norris (McLaren)

7. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

8. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

9. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)

10. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)

11. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)

12. Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo)

13. Alex Albon (Williams)

14. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

15. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)

16. Mick Schumacher (Haas)

17. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)


Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Fernando Alonso (Alpine)

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply