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F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Verstappen Sets New Win Record in F1 Finale

Written by Owen Bradley

Credit: Mark Thompson

Formula One's Final race of the 2023 season shaped up to be an excellent final send off for the 2023 championship, which has seen an absolutely dominant year for Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing.

1st Max Verstappen

2nd Charles Leclerc

3rd George Russell

4th Sergio Perez

5th Lando Norris

6th Oscar Piastri

7th Fernando Alonso

8th Yuki Tsunoda

9th Lewis Hamilton

10th Lance Stroll

11th Daniel Ricciardo

12th Esteban Ocon

13th Pierre Gasly

14th Alex Albon

15th Nico Hulkenberg

16th Logan Sargeant

17th Guanyu Zhou

18th Carlos Sainz

19th Valtteri Bottas

20th Kevin Magnussen

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The Grand Prix began in dramatic fashion, as Leclerc made a quicker start than Verstappen and nearly slipped down the inside into Turn One. Lando Norris would make a great getaway and overtake George Russell around the outside at Turn One.

Leclerc would patiently wait for the long straight run into Turn 5, having a look down the inside of Verstappen into Turn 5, but backing out and holding position, not wanting to risk something too dangerous as they are fighting for P2 in the Constructors Championship.

As the race continued, the DRS train was established as people struggled to get past one another. Daniel Ricciardo would pit for a damage check, and went from the Medium tyres, to the Hard compound tyres. Ricciardo was exceptionally quick on the Hards, holding the Fastest Lap for a while and closing up to Fernando Alonso, who had pitted from P6. Ricciardo had made up about 5-6 places through the strategy.

Credit: Clive Rose

Norris would have a slow stop and lose track position to George Russell, who pushed exceptionally hard and managed to catch back up to Charles Leclerc. Norris would eventually defend from Teammate Oscar Piastri, and open up a small gap to him. Sergio Perez began closing the gap on the leaders, eventually closing up to Lando Norris.

Lewis Hamilton was closing on Alonso incredibly quickly, by over half a second on multiple laps in a row.

Lando Norris would come in, followed by Leclerc and Hamilton the next lap. Oscar Piastri and Fernando Alonso would follow them, and unfortunately with a mixture of strategies throughout the field, more DRS trains would come around.

Eventually, Sergio Perez and Lando Norris would make contact into Turn 5, with Perez getting a 5-second penalty. To secure 2nd in the Constructors Championship, Leclerc needed Perez to stay in front of Russell for Ferrari to take 2nd in the Championship. Leclerc intentionally slowed for Perez, and attempted to slow Russell down, but couldn't quite do it enough, as Russell would finish within 5 seconds of Perez.

Credit: Mark Thompson

Verstappen would take his record-setting total of wins to 19 in a single season, taking the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. A race which summarised the 2023 season, Verstappen far out front as the others battled both physically and strategically against each other, sometimes even assisting each other with overtakes to benefit their own race or championship position.

Formula One concludes in 2023 in a theatrical way, a thrilling season which has seen one of the best seasons, perhaps the greatest season by an individual driver, in F1 history.

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