Abu Dhabi GP: Verstappen wins, Vettel scores in final race of 2022

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Max Verstappen claimed a comfortable victory to round out the season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Dutchman retained the lead from pole and paced his race to perfection as he made a one-stop strategy work to take the chequered flag.

Race Review

A clean start at the front as Verstappen just held the lead ahead of Sergio Perez, as Lewis Hamilton split the two Ferraris into Turn 1.

Carlos Sainz looked to re-pass the Mercedes into Turn 6 with Hamilton staying in front by cutting the chicane.

The stewards ordered the Briton to let Sainz back though but Lewis soon got back ahead with an overtake into Turn 9.

Hamilton's pace wasn't good afterwards though due to floor damage picked up on Lap 1, as Sainz and George Russell passed the Mercedes on consecutive laps.

Lando Norris led the midfield in seventh with Sebastian Vettel fighting the two Alpines in P8-P10.

At the front, Perez was unable to match the pace of Verstappen and pitted earlier than his Red Bull teammate for hard tyres.

Russell was next but had a slow stop and was released into the path of Norris, earning the Briton a five-second penalty.

After the first pit stops were complete, Leclerc used his six-lap fresher tyres to close the gap on Perez, as Alonso retired to the pits with a water leak.

The Mexican responded by pitting for a second time leaving the rest to weigh up whether to stop again too or go onto a one-stop.

At the back, Mick Schumacher tagged Nicholas Latifi into Turn 5, putting both into a spin with the Williams touching the barrier.

The Canadian was later forced to retire as a result, while the Haas was given a five-second penalty.

Perez's decision to pit led Leclerc to go to the end, meaning Checo had to catch and pass the Ferrari in the battle for second.

There was late more drama for Hamilton in Abu Dhabi as a gearbox issue caused him to retire from fourth.

But ahead, there was no stopping Verstappen as he cruised to a comfortable 15th win of the season.

Leclerc held on to hold on to secure P2 both in the race and in the Drivers' Championship as Perez settled for third ahead of Sainz and Russell in fifth.

Norris had a quiet drive to sixth followed by Esteban Ocon, as Alpine secured fourth in the Constructors' standings. Lance Stroll moved up to eighth with Daniel Ricciardo ninth in his last race before leaving McLaren.

The Australian battled former Red Bull teammate Vettel in the closing laps, as Hamilton's retirement meant the four-time world champion scored the final point in 10th.

Further down, Pierre Gasly was 14th in his final race for AlphaTauri with Mick Schumacher ahead of Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen in 16th.