Abu Dhabi GP: Max Verstappen signs off the 2022 season with a win

Franz Tost Germany

Max Verstappen and Red Bull once again triumph as Sergio Perez misses P2 in the last race of the season – the Abu Dhabi GP.

The 2022 season was a story of new regulations and the utter dominance of one man – Max Verstappen. Anyway, the final race of the season underwent similarly. F1 returned to the circuit of Yas Marina for the 2022 Abu Dhabi GP.

As the lights went out for one final time in 2022 there was a lot still left to be decided. And, all the things were decided as the drivers completed 58 laps of the race.

Here are a review and key talking points in the aftermath of the race.

Max Verstappen ends his season on a high

This season has been a story of the utter dominance of Max Verstappen. The Dutchman came into the season defending and challenging for his second consecutive title.

The start was a bit shaky with reliability issues and pace not helping the Dutchman pose a challenge. Nevertheless, the team and Verstappen both recovered and bounced back to clinch both titles. Max Verstappen was crowned the 2022 World Champion in Japan while red bull secured the constructors’ crown in the next race in Austin.

The final race was also a similar story for the Dutchman as he secured his 15th win of the season – extending his record-breaking wins in a season.

Verstappen earlier secured the pole in qualifying. Starting the race from the pole, the Dutchman nailed the start to keep his teammate at bay and led the race comfortably from there.

The Dutchman showed incredible pace once again finishing the season on a high. The pace of both the red bulls throughout the weekend indicates that the team still has the pace it seemed to lose during the Brazilian GP.

Red Bull might again be a team to watch out for next year.

Perez heartbreak

It was not all that good news for the teammate of Max Verstappen – Sergio Perez. The Mexican was involved in an extremely close fight for P2 on the championship standings. Perez and Charles Leclerc both entered the Abu Dhabi GP tied on points after the controversial team orders’ rift from red bull as Verstappen denied Perez P6 in Brazil.

Regardless, now it is clear that P6 couldn’t have helped Checo win the second position. Red bull looked strong the whole weekend. It became more clear after qualifying as the duo locked the front row. It was the first time both red bull drivers secured a front-row start since 2018.

Sergio Perez started his race behind his teammate Max Verstappen. The 32-year-old attacked his teammate in turn 1 but failed to get the place. Regardless, the Mexican still hung on to his second place for quite a long time.

Perez went for the undercut strategy pitting on lap 34. The two-stop strategy, however, was not going to work as much in his favor as he might have expected.

Leclerc decided to commit to a one-stop strategy. This meant that Perez had to overtake Hamilton, Russell, Sainz, and Leclerc to secure his second place in the championship.

Perez came extremely close to snatching the second. However, fell short of Leclerc by around 1.3 seconds in the end. Charles Leclerc however, secured second place in the championship – his highest ever in F1.

Farewell to the legend

As the lights went out for one last time in Abu Dhabi, Sebastian Vettel was seeing his 299th and final lights out. The German signed off his career with one final point in the Abu Dhabi GP. Adding yet another top-10 finish in his illustrious career.

Vettel later did the iconic donuts with his Aston Martin after the race. This left fans emotional and delighted at the same time.

On the other hand, Nicholas Latifi and Mick Schumacher who are also leaving the grid after 2022 had a coming together on lap 39. Mick Schumacher received a 5-second penalty for the incident while Latifi retired from the race itself later.

Two other retirements were of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Alonso suffered yet another mechanical failure as Hamilton ended this season with a retirement – that too a mechanical issue – the first one for Mercedes this season. Although it is believed the mechanical failure that happened to Hamilton occurred due to his opening lap move on Carlos Sainz.

Daniel Ricciardo ended his last race with McLaren in P9 scoring 2 points for the papaya as he also says goodbye to the grid in 2023.

Click here for full race results.

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