After witnessing one of the craziest years in Formula 1, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a somewhat underwhelming end to a brilliant 2020 season. 

Max Verstappen qualified on pole and held the position from race start to race finish to take his second win of the year, while the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton struggling to catch the speedy Dutchman, and a number of drivers bid farewells.

Here are our winners and losers from the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP…

Winner: Max Verstappen and Red Bull

Max Verstappen capped off a very strong Abu Dhabi GP showing after taking pole yesterday and grabbing a dominant win at the Yas Marina circuit

It was a perfect drive and the perfect way for Verstappen to finish the season by taking just the third non-Mercedes powered win of 2020, adding to his previous victory at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone

The Mercedes’ team had no answer to Verstappen’s pace as he crossed the line over 15 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Meanwhile, Red Bull teammate Alex Albon produced one of his strongest weekends of the 2020 season with his future at the team on the line, overtaking Norris in the opening stages for fourth and continued to move closer to Hamilton, though the previously COVID-positive Brit proved just too strong.

Loser: Mercedes

After winning both the constructors’ and drivers’ championship, Mercedes would have been let down by a second and third places in arguably one of their most uncompetitive showings of the season. Rather than saving their best until last, the German manufacturer went out with something of a whimper.

However, the team is understood to have turned down all of its engines to minimise a potential MGU-K “gremlin”, while they also had Lewis Hamilton who was not firing on all cylinders after battling COVID-19 for the past two weeks.

This meant that once Verstappen was off the line and off into the sunset, Bottas & Hamilton cruised behind the Dutchman, not necessarily edging close to him until the Safety Car period, but Verstappen would escape again and finish in first. 

Hamilton had moved closer to Bottas in the closing stages of the race, but didn’t look like he would have the pace to make a pass, and ultimately fell away in the final laps of the race. 

Winner: Daniel Ricciardo

It was a solid farewell to Renault for Daniel Ricciardo, perhaps not in podium shoey territory, but still a great way to say goodbye regardless. 

He had a phenomenal first stint on hard tyres, moving up all the way into fifth after the Virtual Safety Car pit stops, and held onto seventh on mediums having risen up the order and into the points from 11th on the grid.

The Australian capped off his final race of the 2020 season by snatching the fastest lap of the race away from good friend Max Verstappen, something that left a big grin on Ricciardo’s face. 

Loser: Sergio Perez and Racing Point 

Winner last Sunday in Bahrain, to the first and only race retirement and subsequent loser of the day, Sergio Perez had a thoroughly disappointing end to his tenure at the Silverstone squad. 

The Mexican already had a fresh power-unit penalty which led to his starting position of 19th on the grid, and was steadily making good progress up the order when he suddenly lost all drive. 

In a saving grace for Perez, he can still be immensely proud of his performance to seal an outstanding fourth in the championship despite missing two races due to contracting COVID-19.

Unfortunately for Racing Point, McLaren’s strong drive, Perez’s retirement and Stroll’s 10th place finish saw the much-coveted third place in the constructors’ fall to the papaya orange team, with the Silverstone outfit left disappointed to have just missed out.

Winner: McLaren 

McLaren brilliantly surpassed Racing Point in the constructors battle for P3 thanks to strong drives from Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr

Norris had a brilliant start of the line and a decent stint on the softs until Red Bull’s Alex Albon overtook him and inherited fifth place from the Brit. 

Sainz Jr also had an impressive final race for the Woking squad, finishing behind Norris and farewelling his team with a rendition of Smooth Operator as he cruised to his last post-race cool down lap with Norris beside him. 

Losers: Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc dedicated a ‘Danke Seb’ helmet to his fellow teammate and mentor Sebastian Vettel for his last race in red, and continued to pay his tribute by finishing out of the points and running a dismal race in P13.

In his defence, Ferrari’s call to not pit Leclerc during the Virtual Safety Car period was bizarre, as Leclerc fell to the back of the pack as his tyre wear dropped and subsequently finished well outside the points.

The Monegasque driver will be increasingly happy to see the back of the 2020 season with better hopes for next year alongside his new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. 

Winner: Sebastian Vettel

And our final winner of the day is none other than Vettel himself. The German makes our list for his win of never having to drive the 2020 Ferrari ever again. Fingers crossed for a return to success for Vettel at Aston Martin next year and better fortunes for the Scuderia.

What was your favourite moment of the 2020 season? And, who was your biggest Winner and Loser from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to like and subscribe to Crash F1 for more Formula 1 content.

 

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