The 2023 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ended the way 18 other races ended this season, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen ahead of everyone else. The Dutchman took home his 19th win in the season's finale, finishing with the record for most wins in a season and the consecutive win record. Since Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez already had first and second place in the drivers' championship locked up, respectively, and Red Bull already clinched the constructors' championship, everyone else was fighting for second and third place.
In the final few laps, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc tried his best to give his team second place in the constructors' championship, with some podium placement strategy. While racing in second place behind Verstappen, Leclerc knew that the third place Perez had a five-second penalty coming his way, which Leclerc also knew would bump Mercedes' fourth place George Russell into third. So Leclerc slowed down enough to give Perez DRS, allowing him to pass. The plan was then for Leclerc to slow Russell down enough that McLaren's fifth place Lando Norris would get DRS and pass Russell. Had that happened, Ferrari would have gained enough points in the constructors' championship to leapfrog Mercedes for second place.
As hard as he tried, though, Leclerc's plan didn't work and Russell finished third, following Perez's penalty, which gave Mercedes 409 points on the season, three more than Ferrari's 406, and a second place constructors' finish. Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton—who finished ninth in Abu Dhabi—took home third place in the drivers' championship. So the top three spots for each championship are as follows:
2023 F1 Drivers' Championship:
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2023 F1 Constructors' Championship:
- Red Bull (860 points)
- Mercedes (409 points)
- Ferrari (406 points)
Now we look ahead to the 2024 season, which most of us hope will be more competitive. While Red Bull and Max Verstappen fans appreciated their dominance this season, it was rough to watch for fans of any other teams and drivers, as no one else really stood a chance. However, Red Bull's powertrain partner Honda says the team will be getting an even better engine for the 2024 season, according to GP Blog, so the dominance may very well continue. Hopefully other teams make significant upgrades to level the playing field, making the 2024 season more exciting.
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