Max Verstappen confidently converted pole position into victory during Sunday evening’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, making it 19 wins across 22 races in what has been a remarkable year for the Dutchman and his Red Bull team.
Verstappen defended from Charles Leclerc on the run to the first corner and across the first lap before cementing his lead and gradually pulling clear, taking the chequered flag comfortably ahead of the chasing pack as the sun set on the 2023 campaign.
Sergio Perez crossed the line in second position for Red Bull, but a five-second time penalty for a clash with McLaren’s Lando Norris demoted him to fourth when the results were confirmed, leaving Leclerc second and the Mercedes of George Russell third.
Leclerc had been second on the road until the closing laps when he elected to let Perez pass him and try to generate enough of a gap between the Red Bull and Russell to boost Ferrari’s chances of beating Mercedes to second in the constructors’ standings, but it was not to be.
Carlos Sainz had been running in the points in the closing stages, but his alternative strategy required a late pit stop and left him a lowly 18th, as Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen completed the order for Alfa Romeo and Haas (Formula1.)