Vettel says goodbye to F1 as it draws the curtain to 2022.
For the last race of the season, Abu Dhabi GP followed its trend as the pole-sitter won the race for the seventh consecutive time in Formula 1. Double reigning World Champion Max Verstappen won his 15th race of 2022, breaking the record for the most number of Grand Prix wins in a season.
Brundle parallels Verstappen with Michael Schumacher
It appeared that the Dutch weren’t really giving it all during the Abu Dhabi GP. But still, he was pulling away with each lap from the rest of the grid. After grabbing the pole by 0.228s, he dominated the entire race and won it with a comfortable margin of over 8 seconds.
“This is sort of a Michael Schumacher-esque drive here from Max Verstappen. It almost looks however slow he’s driving, he’s pulling away. It just looks so casual,” said Martin Brundle, who always reminisces the Dutch with the seven-times world champion.
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Leclerc takes championship P2
Coming into the weekend, Leclerc and Perez were levelled in points for the second spot in the championship. With everything wrapped, Red Bull’s priority was to help Perez get the championship P2 in order to secure their first-ever 1-2 finish in the driver’s standing. A fruitful Saturday saw the Bulls securing their first-ever front-row lockout since 2018. What went wrong for Red Bull and Perez is that they opted for a two-stop strategy in Abu Dhabi, while Ferrari and Leclerc went strong for the one-stop strategy. Perez caught up but was left 1.3s too slow for Leclerc.
Leclerc taking P2 in the championship keeps alive one more sought-after trend in F1. For the last five years, the season opener winner has only finished P2 in the driver’s championship.
Vettel finishes in points, so does Ricciardo
For his last race of the season, Vettel had qualified P9. It looked good for the German’s final race in F1 but the horribly applied one-stop strategy means he was a “sitting duck” in the Aston Martin. “We are getting eaten up!” he complained. In Lap 49, he was asked to let his teammate Stroll by as he was on a well-applied quicker two-stop strategy. This got the Canadian in the position of the points but at the expense of Vettel’s final F1 points.
But Hamilton’s retirement meant a place promotion for his old rival and he finally got to the points in his final Formula 1 race. While the departing McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo finished P9 and finished his season on a high. Stroll eventually got past him, meaning that Aston Martin secured a total of five points which equalled them in points with Alfa Romeo. But they couldn’t get the P6 in the constructor’s championship.
Departing Canadian and Williams driver Nicholas Latifi hit the wall in his last race after he got tapped by another departed, Mick Schumacher. Causing the collision caused him a five-second penalty. Latifi shined off with a DNF in his final race.
Mechanical DNFs for Hamilton and Alonso
The one thing everyone was looking forward to was the farewell doughnuts between Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso. Seb had to do that all by himself because both Hamilton and Alonso had mechanical failures and couldn’t finish the race. Hearts broke when Alonso was called into the pits due to water leaks to retire the car. While Hamilton was heard reporting about his gear change problem when he was in fourth place in Lap 55. He was called into the garage following a hydraulic issue in the car. Mercedes’ first mechanical failure of the season came probably at the worst occasion of all.
DNF in the last race means since his debut in F1, this was the first ever season where Lewis Hamilton neither grabbed a pole nor he won a race, ending his 15-year streak. His sixth-place championship finish in 2022 goes down as his lowest ever in F1.