Home CAR & BIKES Verstappen Caps Off 2023 With 19th Season Win; Mercedes Pips Ferrari To...

Verstappen Caps Off 2023 With 19th Season Win; Mercedes Pips Ferrari To 2nd In Constructors Championship

In the finale of the 2023 Formula 1 season, Max Verstappen triumphed at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, showcasing an exceptional defensive prowess at the outset and cruising to victory over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc’s. The event culminated with Mercedes edging past Ferrari to claim the second spot in the constructors’ championship.

The race began with Verstappen facing a formidable challenge from Leclerc, who relentlessly attacked the Red Bull champion on the opening lap. Leclerc’s Ferrari made valiant attempts to overtake Verstappen, but the Dutchman displayed exceptional defensive skills, denying Leclerc the opportunity to make a successful pass. Despite Leclerc’s persistent pressure, Verstappen managed to ease away, securing a comfortable 17.9-second lead and clinching the win.

George Russell’s Mercedes exhibited strong pace, resulting in Leclerc primarily focusing on defending against Russell and Lando Norris’ McLaren. Norris briefly overtook Russell early in the race, but a slow left-rear tire change during the first pit stop saw Norris lose ground to Russell, spending the remainder of the race chasing the Mercedes driver.

Following the pitstops, Sergio Perez’s Red Bull launched an aggressive charge from ninth on the grid, surging through the field after an extended middle stint and a late second pitstop for fresh hard tires. Perez made a remarkable push, overtaking Norris and Russell to secure the second position on the track, only to be penalised for an incident involving Norris, resulting in Perez finishing fourth in the final classification.

Amidst the late-race drama, Leclerc strategically allowed Perez to pass, aiming to place him between Russell and himself when the penalty was applied, attempting to bolster Ferrari’s chances against Mercedes in the constructors’ championship. However, the strategy did not pan out as Russell’s performance ensured he remained within the five-second margin necessary to outpace Perez.

Leclerc clinched a secure second place, followed closely by Russell, ensuring Mercedes held onto second in the constructors’ standings, despite Lewis Hamilton finishing ninth. McLaren secured fourth in the standings, with Norris finishing sixth, maintaining a comfortable lead over his teammate Oscar Piastri.

Fernando Alonso, driving for Aston Martin, made a late move on Yuki Tsunoda to claim seventh place, securing fourth in the drivers’ championship. Tsunoda attempted a bold one-stop strategy but slipped to eighth, narrowly avoiding being overtaken by Hamilton.

Hamilton endured a challenging race, surviving a front wing-damaging incident and finishing in the top 10, capping a disappointing weekend where he struggled with his Mercedes W14.

Lance Stroll secured the final point, with Daniel Ricciardo narrowly missing out on points despite a commendable performance.

The race concluded with post-race investigations looming over several drivers, including Verstappen, related to possible pitstop infringements regarding eyewear worn by their mechanics.

Verstappen’s victory marked his 19th win of the 2023 season, elevating him to over 1,000 laps led, ultimately sealing an exceptional season with an impressive Abu Dhabi triumph.

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