A year after Verstappen’s tense and controversial victory Lewis Hamilton to seal his maiden title, there was little drama at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Verstappen stayed ahead of teammate Sergio Perez at the start and was never seriously challenged afterwards on the way to victory. “Amazing to win again here, the 15th win of the season is amazing,” he said. “It’s been really nice to work with the whole team and to be able to achieve something like this this year.”
Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc withstood Perez’s challenge on old tires finish second and clinch second place in the championship standings, thwarting red bulls bid for its drivers to place first and second.
Leclerc finishes three points ahead of Perez in the standings. This meant that Verstappen’s refusal to give up sixth place to his teammate in the last race in Brazil was not decisive at the end of the season.
“I knew the only possibility to beat Checo (Perez) today was with a different strategy and playing with tire management, which we did very well today,” said Leclerc. “I really hope that next year we can take a step forward to fight for the championship.”
Leclerc and Ferrari looked capable of challenging Verstappen for the title at the start of the season, but Red Bull improved their car performance advantage throughout the season. Mistakes on track by Leclerc and in Ferrari’s racing strategy also held them back.
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel finished 10th for Aston Martin as he retires F1 after 16 years. A hydraulic problem ended Lewis Hamilton’s race to mercedes as the seven-time champion ended an F1 season without a win for the first time in his career.