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ARE | Nov 26, 2023

Verstappen takes F1 season finale with record 19th win of the year

Shari-Lee Crooks

Shari-Lee Crooks / Our Today

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action (Photo: Pool via REUTERS/Marcelo Chello)

Max Verstappen would end his record-breaking dominant 2023 season with his 19th win of the year at the Yas Mirina track in Abu Dhabi.

For the fourth straight race, the Red Bull of Verstappen and the Ferrari of Charles LeClerc would start a Grand Prix race on the front row.

LeClerc would have to be at his best if Ferrari would overtake Mercedes for P2 in the Constructors’ championship.

This circuit favours the driver in pole position as for the last eight occasions, the pole sitter went on to win the race.

LeClerc would have the inside line on the start but the Dutchman was able to stave off the Monégasque and was never really bothered the rest of the race.

George Russell of Mercedes was able to compete all race and made sure to maintain his pace to ensure that Sergio Perez’s penalty for a collision with McClaren’s Oscar Piastri would put the Mexican driver down a place once it was applied.

LeClerc would try his best at the end to give Perez the chance to pass him and clear the five seconds he would need to maintain position even after the penalty, but Russell was consistent and made sure to keep the distance less than five seconds.

After the application of the penalty, it was the Mercedes driver who would round out the podium with Perez ending up in fourth.

The two McClarens would cross the line back-to-back in fifth and sixth, with Lando Norris maintaining the starting position while Piastri lost three places from his original grid position.

Formula One F1 – Max Verstappen celebrates with sparkling wine on the podium after winning a race. (Photo: REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli)

Veteran Fernando Alonso would put his Aston Martin over the line in seventh ahead of Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri, who regained his position after losing it momentarily to Lewis Hamilton on the final lap.

The seven-time champion after struggling all weekend managed to gain two places and finish in ninth in the points after falling outside of the points to start the race.

Alonso’s teammate Lance Stroll rounded out the points with tenth place.

Despite LeClerc’s attempt at the end and Hamilton’s struggles, both Mercedes scored enough points together to ensure P2 for the Silver Arrows.

Ferrari would end three points behind in P3.

McClaren ensured they maintained the fourth place they gained after passing Aston Martin earlier in the season.

The top three places in the driver’s championship were already locked up following Las Vegas, but the battle for fourth through to seventh was tight going into this last race.

Alonso and LeClerc end the season locked on points with Alonso winning on countback on account of better podium finishes.

Norris would finish a single point behind them for sixth and Carlos Sainz after an unfortunate weekend would see his season end with him in seventh.

Verstappen would end the season in third on the all-time list for F1 wins behind Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

Formula One F1 – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads action at the start of the race. REUTERS/Henry Romero

He and Red Bull wrap up their absolute dominant season with a Constructors’ title and a 1,2 in the Drivers’ race with Perez ending in second behind his teammate.

The teams now go into winter break and have 97 days of rest before pre-season testing begins next February.

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