F1 lesson: Verstappen’s dominating victory in Abu Dhabi sums up 2022 season

The F1 season came to an end as Max Verstappen took the checkered flag at Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

It was the record-breaking 15th win for Red Bull Racing’s superstar driver, who had already won his second consecutive world championship last month.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was second in the race and in the final standings ahead of Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez.

It was a fitting end to the 2022 campaign. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know as you look back at the season as a whole.

Verstappen season 1 in the record books

There was no debate over who was the best driver in Abu Dhabi this year, with Verstappen winning from pole position in typical fashion, leading Leclerc by 8.711 seconds to take the win.

Ferrari had a strong start to the season, but Red Bull proved to be a step ahead of the field and ran away with both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

At least there wasn’t much drama compared to Verstappen’s controversial title win a year ago. In case you forget (or erased from memory, Men in Blackstyle), Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has allowed wrapped cars to unwrap during the final caution period. but that’s all Sandwiched between title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen. Hamilton was leading the restart but was a sitting duck as Verstappen, who pitted for new tyres, sprinted towards the finish line and the title.

Sparks were flying last week in Brazil when Verstappen ignored orders to pass Perez for sixth, allowing his teammate to score another point. This meant that Perez and Leclerc entered the finale tied for second. In the end, it was a moot point, as Perez was unable to overtake Leclerc and finished three points behind anyway.

Verstappen ended a record-breaking campaign with the most wins (15) and points (454) in a single F1 season. Obviously there are more races this season than in the past, but when Michael Schumacher, Fernando he goes up against the likes of Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton, they are still impressive achievements.

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Ferrari finish has no silver lining

Leclerc’s runner-up finish and team-mate Carlos Sainz’s fourth-place finish saw Ferrari finish second in the Constructors’ Championship, but there is little consolation for the Scuderia team.

It’s hard to call second place disappointing, but it’s Ferrari. A brand synonymous with the sport, he jumped out of the gate with a 1-2 finish to start the season in Bahrain. Even midway through the season, when Sainz took his first career win at Silverstone followed by Leclerc’s third victory of the year in Austria, there still seemed hope for the team to push again.

Leclerc often beat Verstappen in qualifying for 1st place, winning seven of his nine pole positions. Retired due to an error. All three happened to lead to Verstappen’s victory.

Things really started to go downhill starting in Monaco as the team botched a double-stacked pit stop as the team hampered Leclerc and lost valuable pole-sitter time on a tricky track. A 1-2 start for Leclerc and Sainz only saw Sainz finish on the podium with the same starting grid position while Leclerc dropped to fourth.

Sainz continued to scold the team with questionable calls over the radio, even as he took his first career win at Silverstone.There was also an incident in France where his team called him into the pits While he battled Perez for a potential podium positionas Sainz exclaimed, “Not now! Stop now! Stop now!”

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This is just a selection of highlights from lowlights. This feels like beating a dead horse, a dead prancing horse if need be. Are you a Ferrari fan?

Mercedes season wrap-up on Sunday

Formula 1’s most winning driver had the first ever winless season, but Hamilton still finished 6th in the rankings. The 103-time winning Mercedes driver finished on the podium nine times despite battling a bumpy ride at times. Bouncing issues nearly forced Hamilton out of the Canadian Grand Prix, as he struggled to get out of the car after suffering back pain in the previous race in Azerbaijan.

Mercedes newcomer George Russell proved he deserves promotion from Williams Racing, scoring points in all but two races. Russell finished on the podium eight times, including his first step at the São Paulo Grand Prix, where he took his first victory.

Mercedes seemed to have sorted everything out in the second half of the calendar, moving up to second place in the Constructors’ standings ahead of Ferrari, but in Abu Dhabi the ‘porpoise’ reared its head again.

To add insult to injury, Russell’s tires wore out and Hamilton suffered a gearbox failure, forcing him to retire. It’s the first and only DNF for Mercedes this season. Team principal Toto Wolff called it a season wrap-up.

“We knew Abu Dhabi would be difficult for us, so at least our predictions were accurate, but unfortunately we made an avoidable mistake,” Wolff said in a team statement. “For us, this is character-building season, and we will have this car on display at the Factory as a reminder.”

Goodbye Cebu

Hamilton’s withdrawal from the race allowed Sebastian Vettel to finish in the top ten at his final Grand Prix in Formula 1. Vettel announced his retirement in July, but reality set in as the four-time world champion officially gave up his racing shoes.

The last two seasons at Aston Martin have been a struggle for Vettel. In another shining example of his on Sunday, the German driver wondered on the radio, “How could I have gotten my strategy so wrong?” He opted for only one pit stop, which caused his tires to wear out towards the end of the race, almost costing him the one point he had won.

Vettel will also be missed not only on the grid, but using his platform to speak out on political and social issues close to and important to him, including gender inequality, homophobia and climate change. Even before the Russian Grand Prix was officially canceled, Vettel said he would not race because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Vettel’s team is sponsored by Saudi oil giant Aramco, and it’s easy to call him a hypocrite because the sport hosts races in a country accused of ‘sport-washing’ human rights violations. However, it was a lazy argument that ignored the issues Vettel was raising, and should be commended for using the platform provided to bite the feeding hand.

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“I think there are things that are much bigger and more important than racing in circles, and that’s obviously what we love,” Vettel told the crowd after the race. , if you can convey some of the value that really matters, that’s a big deal.”

In other words, it’s like what Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Hopefully, other drivers will fill the holes left by Vettel and continue to champion those causes.

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• Valtteri Bottas’ fifth-place finish at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix had a crazy butterfly effect that helped his team win millions in prize money. After the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin finished tied for sixth in the constructors’ standings, with him on 55 points each. The tie-break was decided by the driver with the best finish among the drivers and Bottas’ best result of the season came long ago in his April and made the difference.

• Well done: Fernando Alonso’s final race with Alpine was another emblematic race of the driver’s season. Alonso faced a laundry list of mechanical problems in his Renault-powered car, making his fifth retirement of the year in Abu Dhabi. Alonso finished ninth overall in his ranking of drivers and helped Alpine to secure his fourth place of ‘Best of the Rest’ in his championship of constructors. Alonso is leaving the Renault-backed team for the third time in his career as the two-time world champion moves to Aston Martin to take Vettel’s seat.

• This season has seen some new regulations introduced in a ‘I explain like I was a 5 year old’ way to be more competitive on the track. result? McLaren driver Lando Norris’ P3 at Imola was the only occasion a driver other than Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes finished on the podium. The midfield has been competitive, but a big gap still exists between those teams and the top teams.

• Perhaps no one in the paddock misses Vettel more than Mick Schumacher. Vettel was like a big brother to the 23-year-old Schumacher and their bromance was the definition of wholesome content.

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• Schumacher is out of full-time riding next season, although he could win the reserve driver role. The son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, he made too many mistakes in his two years at Haas. In another perfect example of Sunday of the season failing badly, Schumacher tried to overtake Williams driver Nicholas Latifi but found a gap that wasn’t there, causing a collision with the Canadian instead. I got

• And who else was disappointed when Schumacher attended a donut-twisting fest at the end of the race and was told by his team to call it off? Total Vibe Killer.

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Is it March yet? F1 will start his 2023 campaign in Bahrain in three and a half months. During the off-season, we’ll keep you covered with a rundown of all the driver and team changes as familiar faces land at new locations, and bold predictions that share the wildest premonitions as we stare into the crystal ball. .

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F1 lesson: Verstappen’s dominating victory in Abu Dhabi sums up 2022 season

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