Max Verstappen wins in Abu Dhabi as Charles Leclerc finishes 2nd in points

Red Bull is still looking for a 1-2 finish in the points standings.

Max Verstappen cruised to his 15th Formula 1 win of the season in the season finale at Abu Dhabi as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc used a one-stop pit strategy to hold off Sergio Perez for second in the race and second in the points standings.

Perez and Leclerc entered the race tied for second in the points standings after Verstappen didn’t pull over for his teammate on the final lap in Brazil. Perez started second behind Verstappen and had pace on fresh tires. But Leclerc would eat into Perez’s advantage as tires wore off and took second place when Perez pitted for the second time.

Leclerc’s pace stabilized on his older tires and Ferrari elected to keep him out on track behind Verstappen, who also just pitted once. And while Perez charged towards Leclerc in the final laps, he was still over a second behind Leclerc at the checkered flag. Since Leclerc scored three more points than Perez by virtue of finishing second, it’s important to note that Verstappen’s refusal to pull over for Perez at Brazil ultimately didn’t matter. Had Perez gotten past Verstappen on the final lap a week ago, Perez would have lost to Leclerc by a point in the standings.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished fourth to ensure that Ferrari finished second in the constructor’s standings to Red Bull while Mercedes’ George Russell was fifth. Lewis Hamilton had to retire from the race in the waning laps because of a hydraulic issue.

Hamilton was likely to finish fifth before his car had mechanical problems. Instead, he finished out of the points with his first mechanical failure of the season. The problem also ensured that Hamilton finished the 2022 season without a win. It’s the first time in Hamilton’s career that he’s been winless and without a pole position during a season. That futility was due to a Mercedes car that was not nearly as good as Red Bull or Ferrari at the start of the season. Russell’s win at Interlagos a week ago was the team’s only win of the season.

Perez won two races in 2022 as Red Bull won 17 of the season’s 22 races. Leclerc won three races while Sainz won the British Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel finished 10th in his final Formula 1 race. The four-time champion is retiring at the end of the season.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 20: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 20, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)