Verstappen Wins 2022 Abu Dhabi F1 Race; LeClerc Claims 2nd Ahead of Perez
It was also Sebastian Vettel’s final race, as the four-time F1 champion is retiring after this season.
The 2022 F1 season ended about as predictably as it could have in Abu Dhabi. Red Bull's Max Verstappen started in pole position and pretty much stayed there for the race's entirety. Outside of a brief stint behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, following his pit stop, the dominant Dutchman was barely challenged for his 15th grand prix win of the season. Leclerc raced hard, though, and was able to hold off Verstappen's teammate, Sergio Perez, to secure second place in both the grand prix and the season's drivers championship.
There was some hope that Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton would be able to win the Abu Dhabi grand prix, giving him is first and only win of the 2022 season. However, the seven-time world champion's race and season ended in disappointing fashion, after gearbox failure forced him to retire from the race in the closing laps. That's the first time in 15 seasons that Hamilton has failed to win at least one grand prix.
Sergio Perez failed to beat out Charles Leclerc for the second place finish, which meant he finished third in the drivers championship, only three points behind Leclerc. Had Verstappen let Perez pass him last week, as the team instructed him to do, Perez would have had enough points after his third place finish today to secure the second place in the drivers standings.
However, there was some feel-good news from Abu Dhabi, as Sebastian Vettel finished out his career in the points. The four-time F1 champion is retiring after this season and, while his last F1 race didn't end as well as he'd hoped, he was able to battle for a 10th place finish, even with a team strategy that didn't seem to be working. Aston Martin gave him a great send off after the race, though, and the crowd cheered as he waved them on for the last time. It was an emotional tribute to a driver who had an incredible career and gave fans some of the most thrilling F1 moments of the past 16 seasons.
Next season, the FIA is adding even more races, giving the 2023 season a whopping 24 races, the most there have ever been. The 2023 season kicks off March 5, with the Bahrain grand prix.
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