Verstappen Closes Season on a High Note, Mercedes Secures Second in Constructors

November 26, 2023Ramon Jones
Formula 1

The 2023 season was one for the record books for Red Bull Racing. The team claimed 21 wins, first in the constructors championship, a 1-2 in the drivers championship and many other feats this season; all while remaining within the cost cap. Their dominance was unrivaled this year and the result in Abu Dhabi did not stray far from the Red Bull 2023 legacy. Max Verstappen secured his record setting 19th win this weekend at Yas Marina during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Red Bull Finishes Incredible Season on Top

After an incredible move by Charles Leclerc to briefly get ahead of Max Verstappen in the opening stages of the race. Verstappen got a better drive after the first few corners which was all it took before Verstappen took off ahead. By Lap 8 he had built up a 1.6 second lead ahead of Leclerc. From then on Verstappen wasn’t challenged again. He would hold the lead for the majority of the race aside from pit stop swaps briefly at lap 17. With the win Verstappen set a number of records. The most notable being:

The most laps led in a season at 1003 laps; the first ever to exceed 1000 laps
Most consecutive race wins in a season at 10 wins
Most single season race wins at 19 wins
The most podium finishes at 21
Most Points scored in a single season at 575 points
Winning the championship with the largest margin to P2 at 290 points

“An incredible season,” said Verstappen. “It was a bit emotional on the in lap, the last time I was sitting in the car that has, of course, given me a lot. I’m very proud to win here also at the last race. I have to say a big thank you to Red Bull, it’s just been an incredible year. It will be hard to do something similar again, but we definitely enjoyed this year.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“Well that brings the curtain down on a year that can only be described as incredible. This car is going to go down in the history books as a very, very special car. To have won 21 races out of the 22 is an achievement we never thought possible. What a year, not just for those you see week in and week out at track, but more than anything, all the people behind the scenes back in the factory across the whole business. All the support staff made this happen and played their role in making, delivering, and operating this car. I think everybody can take a huge amount of pride in what they’ve achieved, because this Team really does have an incredible winning spirit and their determination through it all is incredibly strong.

YAS MARINA CIRCUIT, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 26: Team members of Red Bull Racing celebrate on the pit wall during the Abu Dhabi GP at Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jake Grant / Motorsport Images)

Horner Continued

“Adding to this, Max and Checo. An extraordinary Team in themselves. Their hard work and commitment delivered our first ever Pl and P2 finish. Throughout the season Max has been as close to faultless as you can get, every week bettering his last performance, turning in his best year yet. Checo by comparison has equally had his best year and his best finish in the Championship. It was not an easy road for him but he turned it up when he needed to and secured second place. Finally, I would like to thank our partners and fans, who equally played their part in this historic season. Their commitment to the Team has been steadfast throughout the season and we are incredibly grateful for their support.

“We are going to hopefully take all of these lessons out of this car and apply it into our 20th car. It will be another special year for us in our 20th year as we continue to build to try and defend these two titles. Preparation has already began, we will enjoy the break while we have it but look forward to seeing what’s to come in the 2024 season.”

Mercedes Gets the Job Done to Secure 2nd Place

George Russell had an outstanding performance in Abu Dhabi to help lift Mercedes to 2nd place in the constructors championship. Russell secured his second podium of the year which helped Mercedes edge out Ferrari in the championship. Lewis Hamilton also scored points finishing P9 which helped Mercedes finish with a 3 point advantage over Ferrari. The fight for second place came down to the wire. Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz did not finish the race after a poor race strategy led to a very late pit stop that left Sainz out of scoring position with one lap to go.

Russell Had the Following Words

“Today’s result means a huge amount and I’m really pleased we’ve secured P2 for the team. There are so many people back at the factory in Brackley and Brixworth, who have worked so hard to achieve this. It’s been a really challenging season for us. I’ve let the side down a couple of times this year so I’m pleased to bring it across the line today. It was really intense at the end and so close with Perez, his pace was just great. I thought Charles was going to back me up but respect to him for keeping it clean. I’m happy to end the season this way with a podium.”

McLaren Beats Out Aston Martin to Secure Third

With Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri both finishing ahead of the Aston Martins in Abu Dhabi. McLaren was able to secure third in the constructors championship. It was a season of ups and downs for the McLaren camp. However, the second half of the season proved to be McLaren’s time as both Norris and Piastri came alive in the closing races of the season to score key points finishes putting them in a competitive position coming into this final race at Yas Marina.

YAS MARINA CIRCUIT, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 26: McLaren team photo Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing during the Abu Dhabi GP at Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images)

Andrea Stella, McLaren Team Principal Stated:

“We would have liked to finish on the podium for the final race of the season, but today we simply didn’t have enough pace. This doesn’t detract from this having been an incredible season. It has been an amazing turnaround which was made possible by everybody’s hard work. To finish fourth in the Championship with nine podiums, achieve a victory in the Sprint race, three more podiums in the Sprint race, two pole positions in the Sprint Shootout, and deliver the fastest pit stop in history is a great achievement for the team. All of this was made possible by the work, commitment, effort and the talent of the men and women at McLaren and our colleagues at HPP. I am so proud and so thankful to all team members.

“This is a strong foundation for the future, and we can’t wait to confirm this next season. Thanks to our fans, sponsors and partners that have been so supportive and enthusiastic. We are on this journey together and we look forward to the next phase.”

Full Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Results

1Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT581:27:02.62426
2Charles LeclercFERRARI58+17.993s18
3George RussellMERCEDES58+20.328s15
4Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT58+21.453s12
5Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES58+24.284s10
6Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES58+31.487s8
7Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES58+39.512s6
8Yuki TsunodaALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT58+43.088s4
9Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES58+44.424s2
11Daniel RicciardoALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT58+56.229s0
12Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT58+66.373s0
13Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT58+70.360s0
14Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES58+73.184s0
15Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI58+83.696s0
16Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES58+87.791s0
17Zhou GuanyuALFA ROMEO FERRARI58+89.422s0
18Carlos SainzFERRARI57DNF0
19Valtteri BottasALFA ROMEO FERRARI57+1 lap0
20Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI57+1 lap0