Max Verstappen burns it down after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. (Red Bull Racing Photo)

Verstappen Caps Off Record-Breaking Season With Another Win

Max Verstappen capped off his record-breaking season with one final victory in Sunday’s Formula 1 season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

After notching his 12th pole of the season on Saturday, the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver defended his lead on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on the opening lap before stretching his lead en route to scoring his 19th win of the season.

In total, the reigning world champion won 19 of the 22 F-1 races on the calendar. 

“An incredible season,” Verstappen said. “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.”

It was initially a Red Bull one-two effort as Sergio Perez crossed the finish line in second, however a five-second penalty for an on-track incident with Lando Norris negated Perez to fourth.

Leclerc vaulted to second in the running order with Mercedes’ George Russell completing the podium in third.

“Today’s result means a huge amount and I’m really pleased we’ve secured P2 for the team,” Russell said. “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 (Leclerc) 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’s Norris ran fifth ahead of rookie teammate Oscar Piastri. 

Fernando Alonso headed an Aston Martin double points result in seventh while teammate Lance Stroll capped off the top 10 in 10th. 

Yuki Tsunoda finished off a stellar weekend in eighth for AlphaTauri. Lewis Hamilton’s weekend struggles were lifted with a ninth-place finish. Hamilton missed Q3 on Saturday. 

Haas F-1’s efforts lacked in the season finale as Nico Hulkenberg finished 15th. Kevin Magnussen struggled as he finished one-lap down in 20th. 

At season’s end, Verstappen finished off the year with a comfortable 290-point lead over Perez in the final standings.

Behind the Red Bull duo, Hamilton finished third, 28 markers above Alonso.