Abu Dhabi GP 2023

NOVEMBER 26, 2023

Race Notes - Verstappen wins nineteenth

Max Verstappen, Abu Dhabi GP 2023
© Red Bull

By Mark Karp

Max Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in his Red Bull-Honda, taking his nineteenth victory of the 2023 season, having led over 1000 laps this season.

Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari was second, 17.993 second behind. George Russell in the Mercedes GP finished third, 20.328 seconds behind the winner.

Mercedes just beats Ferrari for second in the Constructors Championship.

Sergio Perez in the Red Bull, while having finished second on the track, had a 5-second penalty for contact, and finished fourth, followed by Lando Norris (25.284s) in the McLaren-Mercedes in fifth, his team mate Oscar Piastri (31.487s) in sixth, Fernando Alonso (39.512s) in the Aston Martin-Mercedes was seventh, Yuki Tsunoda (43.088s) in the AlphaTauri-Honda was eighth, Lewis Hamilton (44.424s) in the second Mercedes was ninth, and Lance Stroll (55.632s) in the second Aston Martin took the final point for tenth.

Before the start, as the sun goes down, Verstappen sits on pole with Leclerc alongside on the front row, Piastri and Russell sit on row 2, Norris and Tsunoda on row 3, Alonso and Hulkenberg on row 4, and Perez and Gasly rounding out the top 10, Hamilton in 12th on the grid, Sainz from 16th.

All drivers on medium tyres except for Stroll, Sainz and Bottas on hard tyres.

At 5p local time the field came around for the formation lap, the lights went out and the race started with Verstappen tales the lead over Leclerc, Piastri, Norris, Russell, Alonso, Tsunoda.

Half way through the lap Leclerc is challenging Verstappen for the lead, but Verstappen keeps the position

Tsunoda comes back and passes back Alonso. Hamilton is up to ninth, Sainz up to 13th. Hulkenberg falls back to 14th.

On lap 2 Norris is closing on his team mate Piastri. Perez passes Hamilton for ninth.

On lap 4 Norris passes Piastri for third place, behind Verstappen and Leclerc.

Norris set fast lap at 1m30.188s.

On lap 6 Magnussen pits and swithes to hard tyres.

On lap 7 Russell challenges Piastri for fourth.

On lap 8 Ricciardo pits for removing a tearoff because of overheating.

On lap 9 Russell try again with Piastri, but can’t get the position.

At lap 10 Verstappen leads Leclerc by 1.3 seconds, followed by Norris (2.7s), Piastri (4.5s), Russell (5.5s), Tsunoda (6.6s), Alonso (7.8s), Gasly (8.6s), Perez (9.3s), Hamilton (9.8s) in tenth.

On lap 11 Russell passes Piastri for fourth.

Verstappen reports that his right front tyre is getting worn.

On lap 12 Perez passes Gasly for eighth.

Alonso pits from seventh for hard tyres and rejoins in 18th.

On lap 14 Piastri pits from fifth for hard tyres and rejoins 15th.

On lap 15 Norris pits from third for hard tyres, Russell pits as well and comes out 13th, ahead of Norris.

Hamilton is battling with Gasly, ad is complaining that he damaged his front wing.

Hamilton and Ocon pit.

On lap 16 Russell passes Albon for ninth.

On lap 17 Verstappen pits from the lead for hard tyres and rejoins seventh.

Russ set fast lap at 1m29.537s.

On lap 18 Leclerc pits from the lead for hard tyres and rejoins in fifth behind Verstappen.

Russell sets another fast lap at 1m29.522s.

Verstappen passes Sainz for third.

At lap 20 Tsunoda leads Stroll by 4.6 seconds, followed by Verstappen (5.6s), Sainz (8.0s), Leclerc (9.2s), Russell (10.9s), Norris (12.3s), Piastri (14.3s), Alonso (14.5s), and Perez (16.6s) in tenth.

Perez sets fast lap at 1m29.107s, and again the next lap at 1m28.986s.

Sainz lets Leclerc past. Leclerc passes Russell for second.

On lap 23 Tsunoda and Stroll make their first stop, and rejoin 12th and 15th.

On lap 24 Sainz pits for another set of hard tyres and rejoins 16th.

Verstappen leads Leclerc, Russell and Norris.

On lap 25 Perez passes Alonso for sixth.

On lap 26 Stroll sets fast lap at 1m28.860s.

Sainz passes Hulkenberg for 15th.

Perez passes Piastri for fifth.

On lap 29 Sainz passes Bottas for 14th.

At lap 20 Verstappen leads Lelerc by 6.4 seconds, followed by Russell (8.6s), Norris (10.9s), Perez (15.1s), Piastri (18.3s), Alonso (20.1s), Hamilton (22.9s), Tsunoda (25.2s), and Stroll (28.1s) in tenth place.

On lap 32 Ricciardo makes his second stop for hard tyres and rejoins 18th.

On lap 33 Gasly pits for hard tyres and rejoins 18th.

On lap 34 Norris pits from fourth for hard tyres and rejoins tenth.

On lap 35 Russell pits from third and takes hard tyres and rejoins ninth ahead of Norris.

On lap 37 Leclerc and Hamilton pit, Leclerc rejoining sixth, Hamilton 12th.

Norris sets fast lap at 1m28.736s.

On lap 37 Piastri and Alonso pit.

On lap 36 Russell sets fast lap at 1m28.687s,

Alonso reports that they have the slowest car on the straight.

On lap 39 Russell passes Tsunoda for fourth.

Piastri sets fast lap.

At lap 40 Verstappen leads Perez by 16.7 seconds, followed by Leclerc (30.0s), Russell (32.1s), Tsunoda (34.7s), Norris (35.7s), Stroll (39.5s), Piastri (41.9s), Sainz (44.4s), and Ocon (46.9s) in tenth place.

On lap 42 Norris passes Tsunoda for fifth.

Alonso passes Ocon for 11th.

On lap 43 Perez pits from second and rejoins sixth. Stroll pits as well and rejoins 13th.

Hamilton pass Ocon for tenth.

On lap 44 Verstappen pits for hard tyres and rejoins still in the lead.

Perez passes Tsunoda for fifth.

Perez sets fast lap at 1m27.493s.

On lap 45 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m26.993s.

Alonso passes Sainz for eighth.

On lap 47 Perez tries to passes Norris, but the two touch, but continue.

Hamilton passes Sainz for ninth.

On lap 48 Perez tries again and passes Norris for fourth.

At lap 50 Verstappen leads Leclerc by 8.6 seconds, followed by Russell (11.9s), Perez (15.3s), Norris (18.4s), Piastri (25,5s), Tsunoda (28.2s), Alonso (31,8s), Hamilton (35.4s) and Sainz (41.2s) in tenth.

Perez is given a 5-second penalty for contact with Norris.

On lap 54 Perez passes Russell for third, but still has to overcome his 5-second penalty.

On lap 57 Alonso passes Tsunoda for seventh place.

Sainz pits to make his mandatory tyre change and rejoins 15th, out of the points.

On lap 58 Leclerc lets through to second place.

Hamilton tries to pass Tsunoda, but can’t pull it off.

Verstappen crosses the line ahead of Perez, Leclerc and Russell, but Perez has a 5-second penalty.