Verstappen wins 15th race, Leclerc finishes second

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By Creative Media News

After Formula One completed the previous season with a bang in Abu Dhabi, it was perhaps fitting that this year’s season concluded with a whimper at the Yas Marina circuit.

Max Verstappen won the final race of the season with the same overpowering, inch-perfect execution that claimed his second title a long time ago, but this victory only served to highlight how much the sport has lacked a true battle at the front of the grid.

Lewis Hamilton was at the center of the controversy with Verstappen last year, losing in Abu Dhabi’s controversial deciding race. Undoubtedly, the shattering disappointment has not been mitigated by a demanding season with a subpar Mercedes.

Three laps from the finish, he was forced to abandon the race at Yas Marina due to a hydraulic issue, and he cannot wait to see the back of the car that caused him such humiliation.

Verstappen wins 15th race, leclerc finishes second
Verstappen wins 15th race, leclerc finishes second

Toto Wolff, the principal of the Mercedes team, revealed his decision to use the vehicles for one final time. To have them haunt the team’s factory and engine plant like Banquo’s ghost, “to inspire the others.”

Wolff stated, “We will place these vehicles in the reception areas of Brackley and Brixworth to serve as a daily reminder of how challenging the situation may be. This is a season for creating a character. It’s natural and normal to feel this way, but we’ll be back next year.”

Aside from his admiration for how hard his team fought to get their car into a competitive form such that teammate George Russell was eventually able to win a race in the last round in Brazil, Hamilton has little to take away from the year.

In Abu Dhabi, there was no such tiny solace for Hamilton. As the season concludes, so does his extraordinary record as the only driver to have won a Grand Prix in every F1 season since his debut in 2007.

Second in standings
Verstappen wins 15th race, leclerc finishes second

He may dismiss this as irrelevant, but he has also entered territory where he will be unhappy. He finishes the championship race in sixth place, his worst finish, and behind Russell, who was fourth and finished fifth in Abu Dhabi.

Only three times in his 16-year career has Hamilton been outscored by a teammate.

In what he termed as one of his three worst seasons, Hamilton confessed that he will not have nice recollections of his obstinate W13. He added, “We began with a car we didn’t want and we ended with a car we didn’t want.” “I am quite relieved that it is ended. I gave it my all, but eventually, the last race mirrored my entire season. It encapsulated my year.”

Verstappen has not experienced such mechanical difficulties. His victory was routine and uncontested up front, but the true fight was in his wake. Behind him, Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and Sergio Pérez of Red Bull fought for the second position in the championship.

Alternate techniques were implemented, but Ferrari’s one-stop strategy ultimately prevailed. Leclerc expertly maneuvered his tire to the flag to finish second, despite Pérez’s surge for third place. Red Bull denied their first drivers’ championship one-two finish once more.

The group will not lose sleep over the matter. Even if it was peaceful for Verstappen, it was also an accurate reflection of his and Red Bull’s season, at least on the track. His 15 victories in 22 races are a record, while his team’s 17 victories are their best total. They enter the offseason in first place and will continue to be favorites when racing resumes in March of next year.

Mercedes has its job cut out for them, but Ferrari must conduct the greatest introspection this winter. They waited until the very end of the season to execute a strategic coup for Leclerc, which also guaranteed second place for the Scuderia in the constructors’ championship. After a year marred by errors, the winter provides the opportunity for the team to start over.

Sebastian Vettel, who retired after a 16-year career and four world titles and bid an emotional farewell in his final race, posed their final push for the championship. “I’m certain I’ll miss this more than I can imagine,” he said. “I don’t have much else to say; I’m speechless.”

He finished 10th for Aston Martin on the track where he won his first championship in 2010 and received a well-deserved standing ovation as he exited his car for the final time.

The German is retiring just as a new generation is rising to prominence. Verstappen is in the lead, and he confirmed his dominance in 2022 with ease and finality in Abu Dhabi. F1 must hope that he will be tested more rigorously in the future.

Carlos Sainz was in fourth place for Ferrari, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were in sixth and nine places for McLaren, Esteban Ocon was in seventh place for Alpine, and Lance Stroll was in eighth place for Aston Martin.

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