Max Verstappen wins Abu Dhabi GP

Verstappen led from the start of the race and only briefly relinquished his lead to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the pit stop cycle. The race was spiced up by diverging tire strategies between Leclerc and Sergio Perez’s second-placed Red Bull in their fight for second place in the World Championship.

The one-stopping Leclerc was caught in the closing stages by two-stopper Perez, aided by tire information from Verstappen, who was also on a one-stop lead.

But Perez just couldn’t get close enough to attempt a move, so Leclerc was second by 1.3 seconds both in the race and in the points.

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Results

Kla No Driver Car engine laps Time Delay/retirement
1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 58 1:27’45.914
2 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 58 1:27’54.685 8,771
3 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull 58 1:27’56.007 10,093
4 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 58 1:28’10.806 24,892
5 63 George Russell Mercedes 58 1:28’21.802 35,888
6 4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 58 1:28’42.148 56,234
7 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 58 1:28’43.154 57,240
8 18 Lance walk Aston Martin/Mercedes 58 1:29’02.845 1’16.931
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 58 1:29’09.182 1’23.268
10 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 58 1:29’09.812 1’23,898
11 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Red Bull 58 1:29’15.285 1’29,371
12 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 57 1 round
13 23 Alexander Alban Williams/Mercedes 57 1 round
14 10 Peter Gasley AlphaTauri/Red Bull 57 1 round
15 77 Valttery Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 57 1 round
16 47 Michael Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 57 1 round
17 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 57 1 round
18 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 55 Hydraulics
19 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 55 3 rounds
14 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 27 Water leak

How the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix unfolded

Verstappen just kept his pole advantage going into Turn 1, most of the field starting on the medium compound tyres, ahead of Perez, Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari). On the run into Turn 6, Sainz invaded Hamilton and sent him wide at the exit, briefly sending the Mercedes airborne over the curb.

Hamilton initially held his position, having made it to the top of turn 7 in a straight line, but was asked to let Sainz back in front, which he did on lap 4. One lap later, Hamilton DRS passed Sainz into turn 9, but Sainz stayed in DRS range and repaid the favor four laps later in the same corner.

In the second Mercedes, George Russell then overtook Hamilton – who was complaining of a loss of power – for fifth.

Verstappen took a 2.7 second lead over Perez on lap 10, with Leclerc and Sainz tied 3 seconds behind them. Behind the Mercedes duo, Lando Norris was seventh for McLaren, while Sebastian Vettel dueled the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in his last ever Grand Prix.

Ocon was the first of the top 10 to pit on lap 15 due to hard tyres, followed a lap later by Perez and Russell (who had a very slow stop and was released in Norris’ path resulting in a 5 time penalty seconds). Perez rejoined the fight against Vettel, costing him time in his battle for second place with Leclerc – both in the race and in the World Cup standings.

Sainz pitted on lap 18 and also got caught up behind Vettel as Verstappen and Leclerc were long in the first two places. Verstappen retired on lap 20, leaving Leclerc in the lead until pitting two laps later. A slow stop meant he revived just ahead of Sainz, but well behind Perez, who overtook Verstappen in this stint and was 2 seconds behind his teammate at half distance.

Leclerc moved closer to Perez, who pitted again on lap 34 for new hards – as the teams juggled the pros and cons of betting on a one- or two-stop strategy. Ironically, Leclerc was told to pit if Perez didn’t, so the scenario could have been reversed.

Sainz and Russell pitted for a second time on lap 40, Russell taking his 5 second penalty at this point, giving the one-stopping Hamilton a wide lead.

Perez was delayed by having to pass and then re-pass Hamilton as their strategies converged with 12 laps to go, with Hamilton using the second DRS zone to good effect. But once clear, Perez had to chase the 10 second gap to the one-stopping Leclerc in second.

Sainz caught and passed Hamilton for fourth just as Hamilton was forced to slow down with a hydraulic problem and he revved in to retire – the team’s first mechanical retirement of the season.

Despite being told by Verstappen that he could go “full send” on the tyres, Perez didn’t have enough speed to get close enough to get into Leclerc’s DRS range on the last lap.

Verstappen won by more than 8 seconds from Leclerc and Perez, with Sainz a distant fourth, ahead of Russell, Norris, Ocon, Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and Vettel – who scored a point in his final race thanks to Hamilton’s retirement.

Mick Schumacher (Haas) and Nicholas Latifi (Williams) came together in turn 5, but both rejoined without triggering a safety car. Schumacher was penalized 5 seconds for causing the collision.

Alonso retired on lap 28 with a water leak from his Alpine F1 career.

2022 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix fastest laps

Kla No Driver Car engine Time Delay Round km/h
1 4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1’28,391 44 215,085
2 63 George Russell Mercedes 1’28,836 0.445 48 214,007
3 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1’28,879 0.488 50 213,904
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1’28,972 0.581 52 213,680
5 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1’29,333 0.942 45 212,817
6 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1’29,392 1,001 54 212,676
7 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1’29,489 1,098 40 212,446
8 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1’29.600 1,209 53 212,183
9 18 Lance walk Aston Martin/Mercedes 1’29.620 1,229 42 212,135
10 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’29,719 1,328 48 211,901
11 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’29,788 1,397 42 211,738
12 47 Michael Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1’29,833 1,442 39 211,632
13 23 Alexander Alban Williams/Mercedes 1’29,939 1,548 40 211,383
14 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1’30.309 1,918 45 210,517
15 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 1’30.312 1,921 35 210,510
16 77 Valttery Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1’30.352 1,961 47 210,417
17 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1’30,579 2,188 24 209,889
18 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1’30.785 2,394 45 209,413
19 10 Peter Gasley AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1’31.081 2,690 17 208,732
20 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1’31,158 2,767 40 208,556

2022 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix rounds led

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