Verstappen Victorious in Abu Dhabi as Mercedes Edges Out Ferrari for P2

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Max Verstappen capped off a record-breaking 2023 Formula One season with a dominant victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, securing his 19th win of the year. While both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles had already been decided, Mercedes and Ferrari were locked in a fierce battle for second place in the constructors’ standings. A post-race penalty for Sergio Perez ultimately swung the balance in favor of Mercedes, who secured P2 by a mere three points.

Verstappen, who started from pole position, controlled the race from start to finish, crossing the finish line 17.993 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc in second place. This victory not only cemented Verstappen’s position as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time but also marked the Red Bull driver’s third win in Abu Dhabi, a feat matched only by Lewis Hamilton.

The battle for P2 in the constructors’ championship intensified in the closing stages of the race when Perez, driving for Red Bull, overtook Leclerc for second place. Ferrari, hoping to secure P2, instructed Leclerc to let Perez pass, believing that the Mexican would build a sufficient gap over George Russell, who was running in third place for Mercedes.

However, Perez was handed a five-second time penalty for an earlier incident with Lando Norris. Despite his best efforts to extend his lead over Russell, Perez fell short by just 1.1 seconds, resulting in a post-race demotion to fourth place. This penalty proved to be the decisive factor, allowing Mercedes to secure P2 in the constructors’ championship by a narrow margin of three points.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix marked the final race of the 2023 season for Formula One, which will resume in February 2024 with pre-season testing scheduled for February 29-March 2.

Final Standings of the 2023 Formula One World Championship

Drivers’ Championship

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 549 points
  2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 375 points
  3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 305 points

Constructors’ Championship

  1. Red Bull – 759 points
  2. Mercedes – 573 points
  3. Ferrari – 555 points

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