Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2020 race report & highlights: Dominant Verstappen comfortably holds off Mercedes to seal victory in Abu Dhabi season finale


An imperious show from Max Verstappen noticed him breeze to his second victory of 2020 on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale, main residence the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, who had no reply to the Pink Bull’s tempo across the Yas Marina Circuit.

With Mercedes having taken each pole and race win in Abu Dhabi since 2014, Verstappen reversed that pattern with pole on Saturday, earlier than changing it with a dominant efficiency below the floodlights, as he led residence Bottas by 15 seconds, with Hamilton coming residence simply behind his workforce mate on his first race again since contracting Covid-19.

AS IT HAPPENED – Components 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2020

Verstappen’s workforce mate Alex Albon supported Pink Bull’s trigger by coming residence P4, though having lacked the tempo to actually problem the Mercedes in entrance of him.

In the meantime, in a unbelievable night for McLaren, Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz completed P5 and P6 to assert third within the constructors’, leap-frogging Racing Level who scored only one level.


Pink Bull Racing






Pink Bull Racing




That was partly on account of Sergio Perez retiring with a suspected transmission situation on Lap 10 of the race, an unlucky finish to the Racing Level profession of final week’s race winner..

Daniel Ricciardo got here residence seventh on his closing outing for Renault, forward of the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, whereas behind Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll took the ultimate points-paying place in P10 having been handed on the ultimate lap, Ocon cementing Renault’s fifth within the constructors’.

READ MORE: ‘Bromance’ with Sainz key to McLaren successful battle for P3 in constructors’ standings, says Norris

In the meantime, on his closing race for Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel completed P14, behind workforce mate Charles Leclerc, whereas in what seems to be his final race in F1, Kevin Magnussen completed P18 for Haas.

However as a dominant season for Mercedes attracts to an in depth, it’s Verstappen with the benefit heading into the winter, after a unbelievable race for the Dutchman – and on the finish of a quick and livid 2020.

Race Highlights: 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


Max Verstappen might not have began on pole to this point this season, however he nailed his begin from P1 like a seasoned poleista, easing over to cowl off the swift begin of Valtteri Bottas alongside him and maintain P1, as Bottas received a contact squirrelly on the exit of Flip 1, however doing sufficient to remain in entrance of Lewis Hamilton behind.

There have been no ‘final day of faculty’ vibes for the remainder of the pack behind, who had been all nicely behaved as they weaved via the primary sequence of corners bar Kevin Magnussen, who had a wild lock-up into Flip 1 and was fortunate to keep away from getting collected by Perez – whereas the Dane was in the end Lap 1’s greatest gainer, leaping from P20 to P17, partly because of a beautiful transfer across the exterior of Nicholas Latifi’s Williams at Flip 8.

ONBOARD: Magnussen will get off to a flier at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel nipped previous workforce mate Charles Leclerc for P12, whereas Ocon briefly received forward of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly for P10 – though Gasly would battle again a lap later to reclaim the place.

Begin performed, and Verstappen was shortly right into a rhythm, opening a enough hole that when DRS got here into impact, he was out of vary of Bottas, shortly opening the hole to 2s. His workforce mate Alex Albon was on the transfer too, making an essential transfer previous the McLaren of Lando Norris – who’d pipped him to P4 in qualifying – on Lap 6.

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Watch the race begin at Yas Marina Circuit

Sergio Perez had began P19 however was as much as P14 by Lap 10 when he appeared to endure a transmission situation going into Flip 17 – a merciless finish to the Mexican’s closing race with Racing Level, and maybe closing race in F1 altogether. A Digital Security Automobile was referred to as, with Verstappen, Bottas, Hamilton and Albon diving into the pits, together with a lot of the midfield runners – whereas with marshals struggling to maneuver the stricken Racing Level of final week’s race winner Perez, a full Security Automobile was pulled on Lap 11.

With the order rejigged barely because of these pit stops, on the Lap 14 restart the highest 10 was Verstappen, Bottas, Hamilton, Albon, Ricciardo (who’d began on the exhausting tyre and never pitted), Norris, Vettel, Leclerc (each Ferraris not pitting, with Vettel having began on exhausting tyres to Leclerc’s mediums), Sainz and Stroll – with all of the drivers who’d pitted taking up exhausting tyres. Sainz, in the meantime, was set to be investigated after the race for driving unnecessarily slowly within the pit lane.

WATCH: Devastated Pérez compelled to retire with mechanical situation

Verstappen now had all of it to do once more, however wasn’t flustered, placing in an ideal restart and banging in his quickest lap of the race at that time to be 1.5s away from Bottas by the tip of the lap, whereas Hamilton was 2s again from Bottas – the seven-time champion sad together with his automotive stability at this stage, whereas he additionally questioned whether or not Mercedes had made the fitting name to carry him in below the VSC in any respect.

Leclerc was pondering the other at Ferrari, in the meantime, and having been handed on his previous medium tyres in fast succession by Sainz, Stroll, Gasly and Ocon, got here in from P12 to placed on exhausting tyres on Lap 22, rising P19 and final.


It was a tragic means for Perez’s time with Racing Level to come back to an finish

With the midway level reached by Lap 28 of 55, Verstappen was 5.5s away from Bottas, who himself was 2.6s away from Hamilton – the Mercedes reportedly utilizing their MGU-Okay at a sub-optimal degree with a purpose to protect them.

Albon was nearly clinging on in P4, 5 seconds adrift of Hamilton, the Thai driver then 15s up the highway from the battle for P5 between Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris – whereas Sainz’s tempo had been sturdy for the reason that Security Automobile restart, permitting him to climb from ninth to seventh behind his workforce mate. Vettel, in the meantime, was holding onto eighth, helped by the chasing Stroll having overshot his braking at Flip 11 on Lap 25.

Vettel’s exhausting tyres had had sufficient by Lap 35, nevertheless, the German pitting for mediums and releasing the prepare of vehicles he’d been holding up, consisting of Stroll, Gasly, Ocon and Kvyat, as Vettel rejoined in P15.

Vettel bottling up that pack had been a blessing for Daniel Ricciardo, in the meantime, who lastly made his first cease from P5 on Lap 39 for mediums, and was capable of slot again in forward of Gasly (who’d handed Stroll) in P7, with Ricciardo setting off after the McLaren duo who had been now round 20s up the highway from him.


Ricciardo did a tremendous job to maintain his exhausting tyres alive for 39 laps

Ten laps to go, and Verstappen had eked out his result in 9.6s over Bottas, who was nonetheless three seconds forward of Hamilton, with Albon now seven seconds off the Mercedes – with Verstappen beginning to sound edgy on workforce radio, as he complained of vibrations, with the main focus now on whether or not any of the highest three would wish – or need – to pit earlier than the tip of the race.

In the end, regardless of the lead 4’s benefit, all of them opted in opposition to making a second cease. That simply left Verstappen to let the laps tick down earlier than crossing the road to a volley of fireworks to take the tenth victory of his profession, and second of a season during which he’s so typically been pissed off by the just-too-fast Mercedes.

READ MORE: Verstappen calls on Pink Bull to be ‘stronger firstly of the season’ in 2021 after Abu Dhabi win

Immediately, although, it was his flip to do the irritating, as he ended a dominant 15.976s away from Bottas – and ended Mercedes’ six-year unbeaten run at Yas Marina.

After a tough race final day trip, Bottas at the least had the consolation of beating five-time Abu Dhabi winner Hamilton right here, the seven-time champion ending up 2.4s behind his workforce mate, having admitted to being “massively” affected in the course of the race by the after-effects of his bout of Covid-19. Albon, in the meantime, had been given the hurry up late within the race by engineer Simon Rennie, turning his tempo up within the closing few laps to finish up a powerful 1.572s behind Hamilton.

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Ricciardo says goodbye to Renault

An important night below the lights for McLaren, in the meantime noticed them provisionally declare P3 within the constructors’ standings with fifth and sixth – though the stewards’ enquiry on Sainz was pending.

On his closing outing for Renault, Ricciardo took a powerful P7 plus an additional level for quickest lap, ending 8s off Sainz, having brilliantly prolonged his opening stint on the exhausting tyres. Gasly capped off a tremendous season with P8 – the Frenchman ending 2020, like Perez, as an F1 race winner – whereas a last-lap dive from Ocon on Stroll noticed the Renault driver declare ninth, Stroll capping off an underwhelming efficiency from Racing Level, who will take fourth within the constructors’ – with Renault taking fifth.

READ MORE: Ricciardo ‘proud’ of ultimate 12 months with Renault as workforce declare fifth in constructors’ in season finale

Vettel had appeared sturdy early on within the race after his lengthy first stint on the hards, however in the end needed to accept P14 behind his workforce mate on his closing outing with Ferrari, on the finish of a season he’ll be eager to neglect after ending a distant P13 within the drivers’ standings – and in a 12 months the place sixth-placed Ferrari took their lowest constructors’ ending place since 1980.

In the meantime, on what it appears might be Kevin Magnussen’s closing race within the sport, the Dane may do no higher than P18 on a troublesome night for Haas – in a race that was virtually actually watched by the absent Romain Grosjean, nonetheless recovering from his Bahrain Grand Prix burns, and in addition seemingly together with his F1 profession now at an finish.


Hamilton celebrates with donuts after a season that noticed him win his seventh title

Mercedes rightly feted a dominant season with some celebratory donuts for Hamilton and Bottas on the Yas Marina pit straight, the workforce having taken their seventh straight double championship this 12 months. However tonight was the evening of Max Verstappen, who’ll be hoping for extra of the identical in 2021, as he seems to correctly take the battle to the Silver Arrows subsequent season. For now, although, that’s 2020 performed and dusted.

WATCH: Mercedes donuts mark finish of Components 1 season

The important thing quote

“It was actually pleasant. Yesterday after all, however right now we had begin and from then on after all you take care of the tyres, however the automotive was having a very good stability and it was actually pleasant on the market right now. We did every little thing principally alright. When you begin up entrance you’ll be able to management the tempo a bit extra and it makes your life a bit simpler.

“Additionally I noticed that [the Mercedes] had been dropping off behind me so I may take it a bit simpler. I needed to undergo a little bit of site visitors, the backmarkers, however total, it was a really sturdy race for the workforce” – Max Verstappen, Pink Bull.

What’s subsequent?

That, as they are saying, is a wrap for F1 in 2020 – and what a 2020 it’s been, with all of the groups and drivers having contributed a fast-paced Components 1 season that may reside lengthy within the reminiscence. For a few of these drivers, it seems to be the tip of the highway in F1, whereas others will return subsequent 12 months with new groups. Let’s see how the sector’s shaping up when Components 1 returns for pre-season testing in 2021.


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