Consolation Prizes In Abu Dhabi

Consolation Prizes In Abu Dhabi

Too little. Too late.

If only the 2020 grand prix season had begun the way it finished in Abu Dhabi, with Max Verstappen and Red Bull finally taking a win on merit from the Mercedes-AMG super-team.

Mighty Max converted pole position into a solid success in the desert, even surviving a Safety Car intervention that could – and should – have put the black arrows within striking distance and another monotonous win in a season where Mercedes-AMG nearly doubled the points of Red Bull over the season.

With a new Honda power-plant promised for the start of the 2021 season, perhaps things will be different next year and Red Bull will make the fast start that it needs to upset the pecking order in F1.

“I just hope we can start next season competitively, so we can be there right from the start, as we want to be able to try and fight for the championship. But for that we need to start strong,” Verstappen said after his win.

“Everyone in the team and at Honda has worked so hard the whole year to improve the car and this is a really good boost going into the winter.”

There were celebrations and bromances everywhere in Abu Dhabi, after a season that was surprisingly successful. Charles Leclerc even raced with a helmet paying tribute to Sebastian Vettel ahead of his move to Aston Martin next season and Lewis Hamilton spun donuts to celebrate his seventh world title.

The race itself was less than inspiring, as the top three finished in their starting positions, although Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz scored strongly to put McLaren into third in the Manufacturers’ standings and Daniel Ricciardo – who has easily the best facemask at the track – raced up from 11th to seventh and clocked the fastest lap as he took fifth in the Drivers’ standings before moving from Renault to McLaren.

“I know we didn’t manage to finish third in the Constructors’ Championship but, overall, it’s been a strong season for the team and compared to last year it’s a great step forward,” said Ricciardo.

“My last lap in the car was the fastest on track and I was pushing hard for that. Very nice. Merci beaucoup to the team for an awesome two years.”

The miserable season at Ferrari continued right to the end, with Vettel giving an honest assessment after being given an honour guard by the team as he walked to the grid.

“In general, I hope that everyone can have a better season next year. It has been a very tough and tiring one for the obvious reasons,” Vettel said.

“So I hope next year you will see us smile, see us angry and sad, and that it’s not all hidden behind a mask. That’s the main wish I have. I look forward to starting a new journey, but for now I’m happy to be going back home and recharging.”


1Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 347 points
2Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 223
3Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 214
4Sergio Perez, Racing Point, 125
5Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, 119
6Carlos Sainz, McLaren, 105
7Alex Albon, Red Bull, 105
8Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 98
9Lando Norris, McLaren, 97
10Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, 75
11Lance Stroll, Racing Point, 75
12Esteban Ocon, Renault, 62
13Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 33
14Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri, 32
15Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, 10
16Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, 4
17Antonio Giovanazzi, Alfa Romeo, 4
18George Russell, Williams, 3
19Romain Grosjean, Haas, 2
20Kevin Magnussen, Haas, 1
21Nicholas Latifi, Williams, 0
22Jack Aitken, Williams, 0
23Pietro Fittipaldi, Hass, 0


1Mercedes-AMG, 573
2Red Bull Honda, 319
3McLaren Renault, 202
4Racing Point Mercedes, 195
5Renault, 181
6Ferrari, 131
7AlphaTauri Honda, 107
8Alfa Romeo Ferrari, 8
9Haas Ferrari, 3
10Williams Mercedes, 0