Verstappen with victory in Abu Dhabi ahead of Leclerc and Perez –

photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen won the final race of the 2022 Formula 1 season – the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Red Bull pilot overtook Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and his teammate Sergio Perez in the race.

Before the race, the Formula 1 drivers made a backdrop for Sebastian Vettel. The four-time world champion was also congratulated by the president and CEO of F1 Stefano Domenicali, the sports chief of the championship by Liberty Media Ross Brown, the president of the FIA ​​Mohammed bin Sulayem.

On the grid, everyone from first to 15th position inclusive were on medium tires. Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas had put on hard, and Pierre Gasly – soft. Alex Albon and Nicolas Latifi at the bottom were also medium.

Max Verstappen took the lead ahead of Sergio Perez at the lights. The Ferrari racers attacked, Charles Leclerc managed to get third

Carlos Sainz stuck to Lewis Hamilton. Trying to overtake the Englishman, the Mercedes jumped and flew over the curbs. Lewis went to the side and got in front of Sainz. The stewards noted the incident.

Lando Norris was sixth, followed by George Russell, Esteban Ocon, Vettel, Fernando Alonso.

“Super unfair. He did exactly the same with Verstappen last year,” Sainz said on the radio.

Stewards cleared the Ferrari driver of pushing Hamilton off the track. Mercedes then called Lewis that he was instructed to give the position back to Carlos.

The seven-time world champion did and a few corners later reclaimed fourth place.

“Lewis has to pick up the pace and not let Sainz use the DRS. We are faster than Ferrari. We can beat them,” Russell called into the radio

After a few laps, Sainz was able to pass Hamilton in the eighth of 58 laps.

Mercedes gave their drivers freedom to race. They were already behind each other. Russell took fourth place in the ninth round.

“I’m losing power. What’s going on?” Hamilton asked over the radio.

At the front, Verstappen was more than 3 seconds ahead of Perez. Leclerc was more than 3 seconds behind the Mexican pilot. Sainz received word from Ferrari that tire degradation was lower than expected.

“I don’t agree,” replied the Spanish pilot.

Mercedes did not see any problem with Hamilton’s car. However, he said there was a problem.

The first driver in the pit was Lance Stroll – on the 14th lap. Okon also passed through the pita after him. On lap 16, Perez pitted, as did Russell. The Mexican Red Bull driver returned sixth on the grid. Tried to get ahead of Vettel but made a mistake and Sebastian took the position. Russell, on the other hand, took too long in the pit due to a problem with one of the tires.

Sainz pitted on lap 18. Everyone put hard.

At the front, Verstappen was 1.5 seconds ahead of Leclerc. Hamilton was third – 12.5 seconds behind the Ferrari driver. All three were out of pits

“I think the floor is broken,” Lewis said on the radio and also made a pit stop for solid tyres.

Verstappen called on the radio that the front right tire of his Red Bull was already in a very bad condition. He pitted on lap 21 and returned to the track just ahead of Perez. In the next round, Leclerc also put on hard tires. So the order was Verstappen, Perez, Leclerc, Sainz, Russell. Vettel was in sixth place but had not yet pitted. Russell received a 5-second penalty for a dangerous exit from the Mercedes pit.

“If I have a sanction, we have to do a long run,” George said on the radio.

Vettel complained that he was being “eaten” on the track. He pitted on lap 26 and returned 16th on the grid.

On lap 28, Alonso pitted and stayed there, not finishing his last race with Alpin

On the 28th lap, Perez called on the radio and said that Verstappen was holding him back. He was moving 2.2 seconds behind his teammate. Leclerc was 2.2 behind the Mexican driver. Sainz was running fourth and told his team that he thought the Red Bulls were running with one pit. Russell and Hamilton were fifth and sixth, followed by Norris, Ocon, Stroll, Tsunoda.

On lap 34, Perez was pitted for a second pit stop and returned sixth on track. Shortly afterwards he set the fastest lap of the race. Ferrari decided to try to make the race with Leclerc only one pit. He began to work his way back through the column, first overtaking Norris.

On the 39th lap of the race, there was a collision between Latifi and Mick Schumacher. The two spun but there were no serious collisions and the race continued without a safety car.

Sainz and Russell entered the pita. The Mercedes driver served his sanction. on their return to the track Carlos was fifth, George eighth.

Perez asked if at the pace he was going he would catch up to Leclerc. In the 43rd of 58 laps he was already fourth. Red Bull replied that his speed is good and he will catch up with the rival from Ferrari.

On the 46th lap, Perez caught up with Hamilton and passed him. Sergio came third, 9.8 seconds behind Leclerc. 4 laps later the gap was 6.8 seconds. Sergio was also in traffic, which further slowed him down.

5 laps before the end of the race, Perez was already less than 5 seconds behind Leclerc

After two more laps it was 3.5 seconds. Mercedes called Hamilton that there was a problem with the hydraulics and he slowed down. After that, he just went home to the pita. Perez closed to within 3 seconds of Leclerc, who was drifting in traffic and resenting drivers a lap behind, particularly Pierre Gasly.

In the end, Verstappen won the race, with his team-mate third, 1.322 seconds behind Leclerc. Sainz took fourth ahead of Russell, Norris, Ocon. Lance Stroll, Ricciardo and Vettel completed the top 10.

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