Abu Dhabi GP 2022
NOVEMBER 20, 2022
Race Notes - Verstappen wins in Abu Dhabi
By Mark Karp
Max Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in his Red Bull. Charles Leclerc in the Ferarri finished in second place, 8.771 seconds behind the winner, Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull, 10.093 seconds behind the winner.
Leclerc holds on to second place in the Drivers' Championship, Perez finishes in third, three points behind. Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin tie on points, but Alfa takes sixth position in the Constructors' based on results.
Verstappen's win his 15th of the season, and is Red Bull's sixth win in Abu Dhabi, and is Verstappen's 35th career victory. Red Bull takes the Constructors' Championship with 17 wins in the 22 race season.
Carlos Sainz (24.892s) in the second Ferrari was fourth, followed by George Russell (35.888s) in the Mercedes GP was fifth, Lando Norris (56.234s) in the McLaren-Mercedes, taking fast lap, was sixth, Estabon Ocon (57.240s) in the Alpine-Renault was seventh, Lance Stroll (1m16.931s) in the Aston Martin-Mercedes was eighth, Daniel Ricciardo (1m23.268s) in the second McLaren was ninth and four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel (1m23.898s) in his final career race took the final point in tenth place.
Before the start of the final round of the Formula One season after eight months from the first race, Verstappen and Perez in their Red Bulls sit on the front row, the Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz are on row 2, the Mercedes of Hamilton and Russell on row 3, Norris and Ocon on row 4 and Vettel and Alonso rounding out the top ten positions.
Medium and hard tyres and the expected tyres for the race, and we will see if it will be a one-stop or two-stop strategy.
All drivers starting on medium tyres except for Magnussen and Bottas on hard, and Gasly on soft tyres.
At the appointed time, with the sun going down, the grid clears and the drivers take to the formation lap. The lights go off and the race begins with Verstappen gets a fast start with Perez, Leclerc, Hamilton, Sainz, Norris, Russell, Ocon and Vettel.
Hamilton and Sainz battle and touch, but both continue. The Stewards will investigate.
On lap 2 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m30.541s.
Perez follows Verstappen closely.
On lap 4 the stewards ask Hamilton to give the place to Sainz, and he does.
On lap 5 Hamilton passes Sainz in the DRS to take back fourth place. Russell passes Norris for sixth. Hamilton is chasing down Leclerc in third.
On lap 8 Schumacher passes Gasly for 16th.
Hamilton has fallen back to Sainz and Sainz takes fourth.
Vettel and Ocon are battling for eighth.
Russell passes Hamilton for fifth, Hamilton's lap times are stuggling.
Hamilton "I'm losing power man, what is going on".
At lap 10 Verstappen leads Perez by 3.2 seconds, followed by Leclerc (6.3s), Sainz (9.3s), Russell (11.3s), Hamilton (13.4s), Norris (16.0s), Ocon (19.0s), Vettel (20.9s) and Alonso (21.9s) in tenth place.
Vettel is still looking for a way past
On lap 13 Albon pits and switches to hard tyres and rejoins last.
Stroll pits for hard tyres as well.
On lap 14 Hamilton tells Mercedes, "there is something up with the car."
On lap 15 Ocon, Tsunoda, Schumacher and Gasly all pit.
On lap 16 Perez pits for medium tyres and rejoins fifth. Russell pits as well with a slow stop for hard tyres, rejoining ninth. Norris and Zhou pit.
Vettel passes Perez on his out lap for fifth.
On lap 16 Perez comes back and passes Vettel for fifth.
Sainz pits from third for another set of medium tyres and rejoins seventh.
On lap 17 Russell sets fast lap at 1m29.864s.
On lap Hamilton pits from third for hard tyres and rejoins in ninth.
Hamilton reports, "I think the floor's broken".
On lap 19 Sainz passes Alonso
Alonso pits for hard tyres.
On lap 20 Perez sets fast lap at 1m29.798s.
Verstappen pits from the lead for hard tyres and rejoins in second behind Leclerc.
On lap 21 Leclerc pits from the lead for hard tyres and rejoins in third behind Perez.
Russell passes Vettell for fifth - at the same time is given a 5-second penalty for an unsafe release.
Sainz is close behind Leclerc.
On lap 25 Alonso passes Tsunoda for 11th. Norris passes Vettel for seventh.
Vettel pits for hard tyres and rejoins 19th.
At lap 25 Verstappen leads Perez by 2.4 seconds, followed by Leclerc (6.5s), Sainz (8.3s), Russell (11.3s), Hamilton (15.7s), Norris (20.0s), Ocon (25.6s), Stroll (30.0s) and Alonso (33.7s) in tenth place.
The Ferraris seem to be slowly catching the two Red Bulls at the front.
On lap 28 Alonso pits and retires.
On lap 28 Leclerc sets fast lap at 1m29.744s, and trails Perez by two seconds.
On lap 30 Vettel passes Bottas on old tyres for 15th place.
Russell tells Mercedes, "I don't want to pit too early."
On lap 33 Sainz says that he is starting to stuggle on tyres.
On lap 34 Perez pits from second, the first to make a second stop, for a set of hard tyres and rejoins in sixth.
At lap 35 Verstappen leads Leclerc by 5.0 seconds, followed by Sainz (10.6s), Russell (13.3s), Hamilton (14.9s), Perez (23.8s), Norris (29.7s), Ocon (35.0s), Stroll (39.4s) and Tsunoda (47.1s) in tenth place.
One lap 35 Perez sets fast lap at 1m23.212s, the next lap goes faster at 1n29.199s.
Leclerc is in second place, expected to try to run to the finish, Perez in sixth place.15 seconds behind Leclerc.
Hamilton has closed to a second behind Russell.
On lap 38 Perez sets fast lap at 1m29.065s.
On lap 39 Schumacher and Latifi make contact and go off the track, and then rejoin.
On lap 39 Sainz and Russell both pit for hard tyres, Russell sits for his 5-second penalty. Sainz rejoins fifth, Russell ninth.
Hamilton tells Mercedes "don't leave me on one stop mate."
On lap 41 Stroll pits for medium tyres and rejoins 12th.
Schumacher is given a 5-second penalty for colliding with Latifi.
On lap 42 Ocon pits for hard tyres and rejoins ninth.
On lap 42 Russell sets fast lap at 1m28.942s.
Norris pits from sixth for hard tyres and rejoins in seventh.
Red Bull tells Perez that he will catch Leclerc before the end.
On lap 43 Russell sets fast lap at 1m28.895s.
Stroll passes Zhou for 11th.
On lap 44 Norris sets fast lap at 1m28.391s.
On lap Perez passes Hamilton, but Hamilton comes back and retakes third.
The next lap Perez passes Hamilton in the DRS.
At lap 45 Verstappen leads Leclerc by 7.3 seconds, followed by Perez (17.2s), Hamilton (18.5s), Sainz (29.1s), Russell (36.0s), Norris (54.4s), Ocon (59.9s), Ricciardo (1m06.8s) and Vettel (1m08.9s) in tenth place.
Verstappen tells the team that Perez should have no problem making his tyres last.
Hamilton asks "are we too late to stop?" and the team reports he would drop back to fifth or sixth.
Stroll passes Vettel.
On lap 51 Perez trails Leclerc by 6.4 seconds.
Stroll passes Ricciardo for ninth.
Hamilton is warned for track limits.
Hamilton says, "we should have stopped man".
Hamilton reports that he is losing shifts, and slows.
Hamilton pits and retires.
At lap 56 Verstappen leads Leclerc by 8.1 seconds, followed by Perez (10.3s), Sainz (24.7s), Russell (33.0s), Norris (53.9s), Ocon (57.4s), Stroll (1m13.4s), Ricciardo (1m21.5s) and Vettel (1m22.4s) in tenth place.
On lap 57 Perez is 1.7s behind Leclerc.
Crossing the finish Verstappen wins over Leclerc and Perez.
Verstappen said after the finish, "Was a good race, all about tyre management. Incredible to win again here and 15th win of the season - unbelievable. It's been really enjoyable to achieve something like this this year, I know it will be hard to replicate but it is good motivation to try and do the same next year."
After the race Vettel said, "I enjoyed the race, once the lights go off it was full on race mode. We didn't go for maybe the best strategy, but overall it was a big day and thank you for the support. So many flags, so many supporting faces. I'm sure I'm going to miss this more than I can think of. I don't have much more to say, I feel empty, it's been a big weekend. These last two years have been disappiointing to me from a sporting point of view but big for me in my life. I want the other drivers to carry on the good work, I think there are far bigger and far more important things than racing in circles."