until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Verstappen dominates Abu Dhabi season finale

by Matt Beer
7 min read

Max Verstappen took Red Bull-Honda to a dominant victory in the 2020 Formula 1 season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton held first, second and third throughout, as Mercedes proved unable to offer any kind of challenge to the leading Red Bull.

The main interest in the race was the fight over third in the constructors’ championship, which was snatched away from Racing Point by McLaren.

Fifth and sixth places for Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr were enough for McLaren – which announced major new investment at the start of the day – to overcome Racing Point’s pre-race advantage as Lance Stroll could only finish 10th and Sakhir GP winner Sergio Perez was an early retirement.

After the engine component change penalty that left him starting last, Perez made it up to 14th in the first 10 laps before parking with what he suggested was another engine problem.

That prompted first a virtual safety car under which the majority of the field pitted to take on hard tyres to run to the finish, with a full safety car following.

Verstappen simply pulled away at the restart, as Bottas held a small advantage over team-mate Hamilton throughout, with the world champion’s momentous season ending with a muted podium.

Alex Albon secured fourth after an early pass on Norris’s McLaren, and in the final laps managed to close in on Hamilton for third.

The only worry for McLaren is a post-race investigation over whether Sainz slowed excessively in the pitlane during the safety car.

Racing Point argued this delayed Stroll and changed the complexion of the race.

But while both Sainz and Stroll fell behind a group of cars that stayed out during the safety car, Sainz was able to make rapid progress back up the order whereas Stroll ended up swiftly losing a position to Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri.

Outgoing Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo was the best of the drivers who stayed out during the safety car, holding fifth for much of the evening and building enough of a cushion over the midfield that he only dropped behind the McLarens into seventh when he eventually stopped with 15 laps left.

He took the finish in seventh, picking up the fastest lap of the race on the final tour, with Gasly making up the top eight behind him.

Esteban Ocon was asked to let the faster Ricciardo past early on, and finished ninth after overtaking Stroll on the final lap.

Daniil Kvyat – who was overtaken by team-mate Gasly in the opening laps – narrowly missed out on a point in potentially his final grand prix as he finished 11th.

The Ferraris stayed out during the safety car and moved into the top 10 as a result, but ultimately spent much of the race being overtaken by cars on fresher tyres and then struggling to regain ground after they pitted.

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel ended up only 13th and 14th, behind Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

On his return to Williams, Sakhir GP hero George Russell could only manage 15th.

Kevin Magnussen’s F1 career ended with 18th for Haas.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 55 55 1h36m28.645s 1m40.958s 1 25
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 55 0 +15.976s 1m41.131s 1 18
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 55 0 +18.415s 1m41.42s 1 15
4 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 55 0 +19.987s 1m41.227s 1 12
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 55 0 +1m0.729s 1m41.964s 1 10
6 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 55 0 +1m05.662s 1m41.947s 1 8
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 55 0 +1m13.748s 1m40.926s 1 7
8 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 55 0 +1m29.718s 1m42.474s 1 4
9 Esteban Ocon Renault 55 0 +1m41.069s 1m42.894s 1 2
10 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 55 0 +1m42.738s 1m41.866s 1 1
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 54 0 +1 lap 1m42.704s 1 0
12 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 54 0 +1 lap 1m42.148s 1 0
13 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 54 0 +1 lap 1m41.908s 1 0
14 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 54 0 +1 lap 1m41.475s 1 0
15 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 54 0 +1 lap 1m43.328s 1 0
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 54 0 +1 lap 1m41.675s 1 0
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 54 0 +1 lap 1m42.497s 2 0
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 54 0 +1 lap 1m41.999s 2 0
19 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas-Ferrari 53 0 +2 laps 1m41.707s 3 0
Sergio Pérez Racing Point-Mercedes 8 0 DNF 1m43.263s 0 0
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