RACE REPORT | F1 Abu Dhabi 2023

The championship capper to a great season came in the final Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix, where Red Bull's world champion Max Verstappen took the win to record a record 19 victories in a single season.

With his 54th career triumph, he secured third place on the historic list ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Verstappen beat Ferrari's Charles Leclerc by more than 17 seconds at Yas Marina, while third place went to Mercedes' George Russell. Sergio Pérez, initially second, dropped to fourth after a five-second penalty.

Verstappen has won only three of 22 races this season, failing to stand on the top step in Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and Singapore. However, he ended the season with his seventh consecutive victory and triumphed in Abu Dhabi for the fourth time in a row. His season total of 575 points put him on top, while second-placed Pérez collected 290 fewer. Red Bull dominated with 21 wins from 22 races, with only Ferrari's Carlos Sainz triumphing in Singapore.

Mercedes retained second place in the Constructors' Cup behind Red Bull ahead of Ferrari. Leclerc's manoeuvre at the end brought no change, although he did try to keep Russell at a greater distance from Pérez. The "Silver Arrows" had scored 409 points for the season, three more than Ferrari. Verstappen, the winner of qualifying, controlled the race from the start. He held off Leclerc's attack after the start and maintained his lead, although he fell back after a pit stop and had to fight his way back to the front after a repeat stop.

Pérez tried to move forward but a collision with McLaren's Lando Norris slowed him down and he was given a penalty. Despite later overtaking Russell and placing ahead of him, Pérez came back behind both drivers at the end of the race. Sainz's gamble on the safety car exit didn't work and he finished 18th. This took fourth place in the drivers' standings from him as he dropped to seventh. Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso finished fourth.

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