Max Verstappen ganó en Abu Dhabi el último GP de la temporada de Fórmula 1 / Abu Dhabi GP: Max Verstappen crushes Mercedes to win F1 finale

El piloto holandés de Red Bull se impuso cómodamente, de punta a punta, en el circuito Yas Marina

Emiratos Árabes Unidos.- El holanndés Max Verstappen (Red Bull) ganó este domingo de punta a punta y prácticamente sin rivales el 17º y último Gran Premio de la temporada de Fórmula 1 en Abu Dhabi.

Al término de una carrera sin suspenso, Verstappen -quien partió desde la pole position- compartió el podio con los pilotos de Mercedes, el finlandés Valtteri Bottas y el siete veces campeón del mundo, el británico Lewis Hamilton, quien regresó a los circuitos tras perderse el anterior GP la semana pasada por dar positivo por Covid-19.

En el circuito de Yas Marina, los tres conservaron sus posiciones logradas en la calificación de la víspera, puesto que las ‘Flechas de Plata’ no pudieron con el ritmo de Verstappen, ni siquiera le inquietaron.

El tailandés Alexander Albon, con la misión de conservar su volante en Red Bull, finalizó al pie del podio, por delante de los McLaren del británico Lando Norris y del español Carlos Sainz jr, quien correrá para Ferrari el próximo año.

Su sustituto, el australiano Daniel Ricciardo, terminó séptimo en su última carrera con Renault, logrando el punto por la vuelta rápida.

Los franceses Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) y Esteban Ocon (Renault) y el canadiense Lance Stroll (Racing Point) cerraron el top 10.

En su última carrera con Ferrari antes de unirse a Aston Martin (futura denominación de Racing Point) en 2021, el alemán Sebastian Vettel terminó en el puesto 14.

La última carrera del mexicano Sergio Pérez en Racing Point terminó cruelmente por un abandono en la undécima vuelta debido a un problema del motor. Candidato al asiento de Albon en Red Bull, el ‘Checo’, que la semana pasada ganó su primera carrera en F1 luego de diez temporadas, espera que se decida su futuro pronto.

El danés Kevin Magnussen, no renovado por Haas y que se marcha al campeonato estadounidense de resistencia IMSA, terminó decimoctavo en su última aparición en la Fórmula 1.

Abu Dhabi GP: Max Verstappen crushes Mercedes to win F1 finale

Max Verstappen dominates Mercedes to finish Formula 1 2020 season with Red Bull victory; Valtteri Bottas second ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Alex Albon; Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz fifth and sixth for McLaren, who seal third in championship; Sergio Perez an early retirement

Max Verstappen took an unexpectedly dominant victory for Red Bull at the Abu Dhabi GP as one of the stars of F1 2020 brushed world champions Mercedes aside to finish off the season in impressive style.

It was only Verstappen’s second win of the year, and one he predicted he would have to fight hard for under the Yas Marina lights with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton starting behind the surprise pole-sitter.

But Verstappen was comfortable throughout – even after an early Safety Car – and took the chequered flag by 15 seconds, giving himself and Red Bull a welcome boost ahead of a hoped championship fight against Mercedes next year.

“It was really enjoyable out there today,” said Verstappen, the first non-Mercedes driver to win the season-ender since 2013. “We did everything right.”

Bottas held off Hamilton for second with Mercedes, and their 2020 title-winner who was still feeling the effects of coronavirus on his F1 return, uncharacteristically off the pace.

“Considering the past couple of weeks I’ve had I really am generally happy with the weekend,” said Hamilton, F1’s seven-time champion. “It’s obviously not as good perhaps as we would like, but congratulations to Max.

“That was a really hard race for me physically. All the year physically I’ve been fine but today I definitely wasn’t.”

Alex Albon was fourth in the other Red Bull, despite a late charge.

The more decisive battle came behind the season’s fastest cars, as Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz finished in fifth and sixth to clinch third place for McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship – their best result since 2012.

McLaren came into the concluding race 10 points behind Racing Point, but Lance Stroll only collected one point while Sergio Perez, who was starting on the back row, lasted only eight laps before a reliability failure.

The Mexican, in his last race for Racing Point, was the only retirement from the 55-lap race.

Sainz was under investigation for driving unnecessarily slowly in the pit-lane – which held up Stroll – but stewards deemed no further punishment was necessary.

Daniel Ricciardo was seventh for Renault after an impressive long stint, setting the fastest lap of the race on his last lap with the team before joining McLaren next year, with Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon also in the top-10.

But it was a miserable end to a miserable season for Ferrari.

Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, who both gambled by staying out of the pits under the Safety Car, finished only 13th and 14th, with the German four-time world champion unlikely to fondly remember his last race, or last season with F1’s most successful team.

Abu Dhabi GP Race Result

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
3) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
4) Alex Albon, Red Bull
5) Lando Norris, McLaren
6) Carlos Sainz, McLaren
7) Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
8) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
9) Esteban Ocon, Renault
10) Lance Stroll, Racing Point

By Matt Morlidge