After losing the lead at the start of the race, Max Verstappen overcame a deficit of more than 10 seconds to Lewis Hamilton to win his maiden F1 world title and the Abu Dhabi GP for the second year in a row. Hamilton was caught on the back foot when Nicholas Latifi crashed 5 laps before the end of the race which triggered a safety car that enabled Verstappen to get a free pitstop for soft tyres. Mercedes had decided to not pit him to maintain track position but Hamilton was on very old and worn hard tyres. Controversially it had been decided that the lapped cars wouldn’t be allowed to overtake at the restart but that decision was changed in favour of ending the race with the cars racing. Verstappen immediately overtook Hamilton when the safety car came in, which was basically the last lap of the race and he held on to the Briton’s attempts to retake the lead of the race.
Also Read: F1: Max Verstappen Is P1 In Abu Dhabi GP FP1
Earlier in the race, Perez played the team part and held up Lewis Hamilton for more than a lap that allowed Verstappen to catch up to the 7-time world champion. But despite his efforts, fundamentally, Red Bull and Verstappen didn’t have the searing pace of Hamilton and couldn’t keep up. But then a virtual safety car triggered by the retirement of Russell enabled Verstappen to pit for fresh hard tyres but Hamilton was so fast that Verstappen couldn’t claw the gap fast enough. But this changed the moment Latifi crashed, triggering the safety car just before the end of the race that gave Verstappen the free pitstop for soft tyres.
Red Bull decided to retire Perez after it was revealed that lapped cars wouldn’t be allowed to overtake at the restart. This meant Carlos Sainz Jr picked up the pieces to get P3 for Ferrari which also managed to finish P3 in the constructor’s, behind Red Bull and Mercedes which won its record eighth consecutive title. Yuki Tsunoda was P4 in the AlphaTauri who was overtaken by Sainz after the restart. Bottas had an average end to his Mercedes career with a P6 where he was never in a position to have an impact on the result. Pierre Gasly managed P5 for the AlphaTauri marking out one of his best race results of the season.
The Alpine pair of Alonso and Ocon managed P8 and P9 ahead of Lando Norris who managed P7 for McLaren who ended up P6 overall, behind his former teammate Sainz. Sainz’s result also means that he overtook his teammate Charles Leclerc in the driver’s with P5. The Monegasque driver just managed P10 in the race which meant he fell behind Norris and Sainz to P7 in the overall championship.
Sebastian Vettel capped off a rather disappointing first season with Aston Martin in P11, though he did come out as the driver with the most overtakes in the season. He was followed by Daniel Ricciardo in the McLaren who struggled to P12. Vettel’s teammate Stroll just managed P13 and Mick Schumacher in the Haas was the last finishing car in P14. His teammate never raced this weekend thanks to COVID19.
Perez was classified in P15 ahead of Latifi whose crash in the chain of events enabled Verstappen to take the win. The Alfa Romeo pair — Raikkonen and Giovinazzi both retired. Raikkonen who retires after this race suffered a brake failure while Giovinazzi who moves Formula E also had a technical issue. George Russell in his last race as a Williams driver also had an issue with the power unit that caused a retirement.