Race Report: Verstappen crushes Abu Dhabi GP and season

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 performs donuts on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202311260253 // Usage for editorial use only //

The Formula Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the last race of the season but it also was the race that determined so much in 2023.

Max Verstappen and Red Bull took a comfortable win to put a stake in the ground of a season they dominated. He led Charles Leclerc and George Russell home to the final podium of the season.

What was more pressing was the race for 2nd and 4th in the Constructor’s Championship. In the end, Ferrari tried hard to take advantage of a penalized Sergio Perez to create a gap between the Red Bull driver and Ferrari’s arch rival, George Russell running in 4th. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work and George’s 3rd place finish was enough to secure 2nd in the Constructor’s Championship for Mercedes.


A huge win for Red Bull for a comprehensively dominant season. There aren’t many superlatives left to describe just how good this team and it’s driver, Max Verstappen, were this year.

A win for Mercedes who, despite not being the second fastest car not he grid, managed to pull off second in the Constructor’s Championship. A testament to the team and drivers for never giving up and pressing as hard as they could. A big win for George who carried the baton in Abu Dhabi while Lewis Hamilton was mired back in the field. George’s podium was just enough to claim second in the championship.

A win for McLaren, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri who clawed back from early-season oblivion to beat Aston Martin to 4th in the Constructor’s Championship. One of the most improved teams on the grid delivered an amazing second half of the season and a terrific run in Abu Dhabi with Lando leading Oscar for P5 and P6 respectively.

A win for Fernando Alonso despite Aston Martin losing 4th in the constructor’s title as he did enough in Abu Dhabi to secure 4th in the Driver’s Championship ahead of Charles Leclerc.

Also a big win for Yuki Tsunoda who has turned a corner late in the season and his 8th place finish helped Alpha Tauri secure 8th in the constructor’s. Just three points away from overhauling Williams who finished 7th with a great season for them.


A fail for Sergio Perez who had a ought qualifying and garnered a penalty for punting Lando Norris off track otherwise he’d have had a podium finish in Abu Dhabi.

A fail for Daniel Ricciardo, or should I say a tear-off strip that ruined his strategy and left him out of the points. That’s unfortunate because he may have given the team enough to nab 7th in the constructor’s over Williams.

Not a great weekend for Lewis Hamilton who struggled to get in the points and left a lot of work for George to do but with Carlos Sainz behind him, it didn’t matter much anyway but if either of them had made it toward the sharp end of the grid, the battle may have been tighter. Carlos had a tough weekend too and left Ferrari with only one driver trying to save their 2nd place.

A fail for Alfa Romeo with a bad race for both Valtteri Bottas and Zho Guanyu and an even more difficult season.


I kind of think Pierre Gasly did get the short end of the stick with that undercut from teammate, Esteban Ocon. A tough call and I know they switched Pierre’s strategy but that kind of sucked for him.

Not sure what Carlos was struggling with during the race that had him off the pace in the first stint. Once he was up front, he ran well but firing a second set of hards left him out of hope for points.

Pirelli Report:

The majority of drivers opted to start on the Medium tyre for the first stint, with only Sainz, Bottas and Stroll, all starting from a long way back, going with the Hard. At his first pit stop, Ferrari’s Spanish driver took on another set of the C3, which meant he would be making two stops, although the second one was delayed all the way until lap 57. In the end, only three drivers, Bottas, Ocon and Tsunoda, got to the chequered flag having made just a single stop. The Finn ran two very equal length stints, while the Japanese drivers stopped on lap 22, before putting in no fewer than 36 laps on a set of Hards and the Frenchman brought his first stop forward to lap 15, which meant he went for 43 laps on the C3. The rest of the field all stopped twice.

Yet another award for Max Verstappen in what has been an amazing season for him. The Dutch driver has secured the 2023 Pirelli Pole Position Award of the Year for having been quickest in qualifying at 12 races, more than any other driver. Today, he was presented with the award, a personalised Pirelli P Zero soft tyre, by Kalle Rovanperä, winner of the World Rally Championship drivers’ title for the past two years.


Abu Dhabi GP Results:

PosNameCarLapsLaps LedTotal TimeFastest LapPitstopsPts
1Max VerstappenRed Bull5801h27m02.624s1m26.993s026
2Charles LeclercFerrari580+17.993s1m28.199s018
3George RussellMercedes580+20.328s1m28.187s015
4Sergio PérezRed Bull580+21.453s1m27.493s012
5Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes580+24.284s1m28.164s010
6Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes580+31.487s1m28.138s08
7Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes580+39.512s1m28.256s06
8Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT580+43.088s1m29.256s04
9Lewis HamiltonMercedes580+44.424s1m28.372s02
10Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes580+55.632s1m28.050s01
11Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT580+56.229s1m28.571s00
12Esteban OconAlpine-Renault580+6.373s1m30.033s00
13Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault580+10.360s1m29.016s00
14Alex AlbonWilliams-Mercedes580+13.184s1m27.845s00
15Nico HülkenbergHaas-Ferrari580+23.696s1m29.217s00
16Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes580+27.791s1m28.580s00
17Guanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo-Ferrari580+29.422s1m28.746s00
18Carlos SainzFerrari570+0.000s1m29.452s00
19Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari570+0.000s1m29.863s00
20Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari570+0.000s1m29.934s00
Overall Race
race-report-verstappen-crushes-abu-dhabi-gp-and-seasonAlways fun to see the last race and finalize all the points and money for the teams.
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Worthless Opinion

Some more wins, imho – a lot of great not-for-first racing this season, lots of cars flowing through corners together and well while making moves which consider multiple nearby cars. A lot of great teams – its easy to think f1 has to chose between one winner/one loser teams or internal strife and broken cars, but a lot teams this year had two similarly productive drivers going hard for total team performance, choosing when to cooperate and when to compete quite well! A win for Mr Maylander who is more than ever trying to maintain f1 car speed in the… Read more »