Max Verstappen ended a irritating season for Red Bull on a excessive with victory within the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Dutchman took his second win of the yr forward of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, who had been unable to problem in second and third.
An early security automobile locked within the methods of the leaders and led to a soporific race.
McLaren took third within the constructors’ championship as Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz took fifth and sixth.
The prize for overhauling Racing Point – who began the race 10 factors forward however for whom Lance Stroll may end solely tenth as team-mate Sergio Perez retired early on – is within the area of $10m (£7.5m) of prize cash.
Red Bull’s Alexander Albon was fourth, 20 seconds behind team-mate Verstappen however shut sufficient to the Mercedes to dam any adventurous technique selections, because the workforce weigh up whether or not to retain the British-Thai driver for 2021.
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Too little, too late
Verstappen put within the form of efficiency Red Bull started the yr promising however which they’ve spent failing to ship within the face of Mercedes’ overwhelming superiority.
Having taken a shock pole place, the Dutchman retained the lead in the beginning and was in management all through.
When Perez’s Racing Point stopped within the closing sector of the circuit after simply 10 laps, the protection automobile was known as and compelled most groups to pit for recent tyres and run to the tip of the race.
Mercedes selected to stack Hamilton behind Bottas quite than playing on operating the world champion longer, banking the time acquire of a cease below warning quite than playing on having to struggle again within the second a part of the race on an offset technique.
That meant the remainder of the race degenerated right into a tyre-conservation cruise.
Bottas couldn’t hold tempo with Verstappen and slowly dropped again from the Red Bull.
Hamilton sat within the area of two to a few seconds behind his team-mate for a lot of the race, apparently with extra tempo however both unable or unwilling to shut in.
Hamilton additionally stated he was scuffling with fatigue within the race, on account of the after-effects of contracting coronavirus, which pressured him to overlook final weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain.
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McLaren win huge
Albon had an nameless race in fourth, whereas the yr ended on an enormous excessive for McLaren.
The Racing Point has been the sooner automobile for a lot of the yr, however McLaren and their drivers have maximised their potential to larger impact and stayed within the struggle regardless of a powerful second a part of the season by their rivals.
That stored them within the struggle they usually delivered the race they wanted when it mattered.
Norris made a superb begin and led Albon for the primary few laps, earlier than inevitably succumbing. He and Sainz then drove calmly and persistently for the remainder of the race to safe the championship place they desired.
It made it a superb day for McLaren on two fronts, after they confirmed a significant money increase from an funding by a US consortium that’s to take a 3rd of the fairness within the workforce by the tip of 2022.
Daniel Ricciardo ran a protracted first stint in his Renault on the exhausting tyre to transform an eleventh place begin into seventh on the finish, forward of Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly, as Renault’s Esteban Ocon took ninth from Stroll on the final lap.
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Driver of the day
Shattered on the finish of 17 races packed into 5 and a half months, the groups and drivers head into a brief low season with some modifications to be made to their automobiles earlier than pre-season testing on the finish of February.
The subsequent season is because of begin in Melbourne in mid-March, however with the pandemic nonetheless raging, who is aware of what 2021 will convey?
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