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Champion Max Verstappen Closes 2023 Formula 1 Season With Domination Of The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Max Verstappen confidently converted pole position into victory during Sunday evening’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, making it 19 wins across 22 races in what has been a remarkable year for the Dutchman and his Red Bull team.

Verstappen defended from Charles Leclerc on the run to the first corner and across the first lap before cementing his lead and gradually pulling clear, taking the chequered flag comfortably ahead of the chasing pack as the sun set on the 2023 campaign.

Sergio Perez crossed the line in second position for Red Bull, but a five-second time penalty for a clash with McLaren’s Lando Norris demoted him to fourth when the results were confirmed, leaving Leclerc second and the Mercedes of George Russell third.

Leclerc had been second on the road until the closing laps when he elected to let Perez pass him and try to generate enough of a gap between the Red Bull and Russell to boost Ferrari’s chances of beating Mercedes to second in the constructors’ standings, but it was not to be.

Norris had to settle for fifth after his run-in with Perez, the position he started thanks to his costly qualifying mistake, with team mate Oscar Piastri taking sixth from the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.

Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll made it double points finishes for their respective Mercedes and Aston Martin teams, with Daniel Ricciardo missing out by half a second in team boss Franz Tost’s final race overseeing the AlphaTauri squad.

Alpine pair Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly went unrewarded in the final race of the season, the latter having been involved in a brush of bodywork with Hamilton midway through proceedings, followed by the lead Williams of Alex Albon.

Nico Hulkenberg could not convert his Q3 appearance into points for Haas, dropping all the way down to 15th position in another challenging race, with Williams rookie Logan Sargeant and the Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu coming home 16th and 17th respectively.

Carlos Sainz had been running in the points in the closing stages, but his alternative strategy required a late pit stop and left him a lowly 18th, as Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen completed the order for Alfa Romeo and Haas.

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Photo's: Oracle Red Bull Racing | FIA | Max Verstappen


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