One year since Verstappen’s tense and controversial victory Lewis Hamilton To achieve his first title, there was a bit of drama at Yas Marina Racetrack.
Verstappen was ahead of teammate Sergio Perez from the start and was never seriously challenged afterwards on his way to victory. “It’s unbelievable to win here again, the 15th win of the season is unbelievable,” he said. “It’s been exciting to work with the whole team and be able to achieve something like this this year.”
Leclerc is three points ahead of Perez in the standings. That means Verstappen’s refusal to give up sixth place to his teammates in the final race in Brazil is not decisive at the end of the season.
“I know the only possibility to beat Checo (Perez) today is to use a different strategy and play with the tire management, which we did very well today,” Leclerc said. “I really hope next year we can go one step further and fight for the championship.”
Leclerc and Ferrari looked set to challenge Verstappen for the title at the start of the season, but Red Bull improved its car performance advantage throughout the season. Errors on Leclerc’s track and in Ferrari’s race strategy have also stymied them.
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel placed 10th for Aston Martin when he retires F1 after 16 years. A hydraulic problem ended Lewis Hamilton’s race for Mercedes as the seven-time champion ended an F1 season for the first time in his career without a win.