F1 Abu Dhabi GP: Verstappen Triumphs in 19th Victory of 2023; Mercedes Outperforms Ferrari

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Despite a whirlwind of late-race overtaking and a penalty for Sergio Perez, which saw Charles Leclerc making a strategic but unsuccessful move to widen Perez’s lead over George Russell in the final lap, Max Verstappen clinched his 19th win of the year.

Post-race, several drivers, including Verstappen, are under scrutiny for possible violations during pitstops, specifically related to their mechanics’ eyewear.

The race began with Leclerc outpacing Verstappen at the start, challenging the Red Bull at the first turn, only for Verstappen to skillfully retain his lead. This pattern repeated at Turn 5 and again at Turn 9, with Leclerc persistently pressuring but ultimately unable to surpass Verstappen.

Verstappen soon gained enough lead to break free from Leclerc’s DRS threat, leaving the Ferrari vulnerable to McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris. Initially, Piastri led Norris, who soon overtook him on the fourth lap of 58.

In the early stages, a DRS train formed behind the leaders. However, as the race progressed, gaps started to emerge. Verstappen maintained a lead around 1.5 seconds over Leclerc, while Piastri fell behind Norris. As the race unfolded, Norris couldn’t keep up with the leading pace, and Leclerc trailed Verstappen by just over a second.

As pitstops approached, Verstappen complained about his front tires, and Leclerc began to lose ground. The leaders’ pitstops were initiated by Piastri, Norris, and Russell. Verstappen pitted at lap 16, switching to hard tires, and gained a significant lead due to the undercut when Leclerc switched to the same compound a lap later.

Ferrari’s concern shifted to Russell, who overtook Norris in the pits. However, Leclerc managed to extend his lead. Verstappen regained the lead by lap 23 after passing cars that had started on hard tires, including Carlos Sainz.

By lap 30, Verstappen’s lead had grown to over six seconds, with Russell still close behind Leclerc. Verstappen demonstrated his prowess by consistently lapping in the low 1m29s.

As evening fell over Yas Island, Verstappen further extended his lead. Norris and Russell pitted, followed by Leclerc, to avoid being undercut. Red Bull left Verstappen and Perez out longer. Perez, starting ninth, had advanced significantly before pitting at lap 42, rejoining behind Norris.

Verstappen, following Red Bull’s strategy, pitted a lap later, emerging with a lead of 5.5 seconds. He quickly expanded this lead, setting the fastest lap and consistently outpacing Leclerc.

Verstappen’s final victory margin was 17.9 seconds, marking over 1,000 laps led in 2023.

Attention turned to Perez in the final stint as he contended with Norris, leading to a controversial collision at Turn 6 on lap 47. Perez was later penalized five seconds for causing the collision.

Meanwhile, an off-track controversy arose with Lewis Hamilton and Pierre Gasly, among others, being investigated for pitstop infringements concerning mechanics’ eyewear.

In the race’s closing stages, Perez overtook Russell, then pursued Leclerc. However, Leclerc’s late tactic to aid Perez ultimately failed, and Russell, benefiting from Perez’s penalty, secured third place. This result put Mercedes ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ standings by three points, despite Ferrari’s gamble with Sainz’s one-stopper strategy not paying off.

Carlos Sainz retired in the pits after a last-minute stop, in a race where all other cars completed the full distance, except for Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen who finished a lap down.

Race Results Summary

  • 1st: Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) – 26 Points
  • 2nd: Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 18 Points
  • 3rd: George Russell (Mercedes) – 15 Points
  • 4th: Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing) – 12 Points
  • 5th: Lando Norris (McLaren) – 10 Points
  • 6th: Oscar Piastri (McLaren) – 8 Points
  • Further placements include drivers from Aston Martin Racing, AlphaTauri, Mercedes, and more.

For complete race details and driver standings, view the full results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 Abu Dhabi GP 2023

Who won the 2023 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?

Max Verstappen won the 2023 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, marking his 19th victory of the season.

What was the significant controversy in the race?

The significant controversy involved Sergio Perez receiving a penalty for a collision with Lando Norris, and investigations into pitstop infringements regarding mechanics’ eyewear.

How did Mercedes fare against Ferrari in the constructors’ standings?

Mercedes finished ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ standings by three points, boosted by George Russell’s third-place finish following Perez’s penalty.

What strategy did Ferrari use with Carlos Sainz, and was it successful?

Ferrari employed a one-stopper strategy with Carlos Sainz, hoping for a late safety car. However, this strategy was unsuccessful, and Sainz retired in the pits.

What was Max Verstappen’s lead over Charles Leclerc at the end of the race?

Max Verstappen finished with a lead of 17.9 seconds over Charles Leclerc, showcasing his dominance in the race.

More about F1 Abu Dhabi GP 2023

  • F1 Official Website
  • Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Highlights
  • Verstappen’s 2023 Season Wins
  • Mercedes vs Ferrari: 2023 Constructors’ Battle
  • Analysis of the Abu Dhabi GP Controversies

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4 comments

GearheadGuru November 29, 2023 - 8:34 am

Sainz’s one-stopper gamble was a big risk and it totally didn’t pay off, sometimes you just gotta play it safe.

Reply
RacingJunkie November 29, 2023 - 10:26 am

Leclerc gave it his all but Verstappen is just on another level this year, no stopping him.

Reply
F1Fanatic November 29, 2023 - 12:14 pm

did anyone else think that penalty on Perez was a bit harsh? I mean, racing incidents happen, right?

Reply
SpeedRacer99 November 29, 2023 - 11:40 pm

wow, verstappen really dominated this season, 19 wins is insane!! Mercedes strategy was spot on too, beating Ferrari like that.

Reply

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