Verstappen led from the start of the race, only briefly giving up his lead to Ferrariit is Charles Leclerc in the cycle of pit stops. The race was spiced up by divergent tire strategies between Leclerc and the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez in their fight for second place in the world championship.
Leclerc at one stop was caught by Perez at two stops in the closing stages, helped by tire information from Verstappen, who was also at one stop up front.
But Perez just couldn’t get close enough to attempt a move, so Leclerc took second by 1.3 seconds in both the race and the points.
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Results
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||58||1:27’45.914|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||58||1:27’56.007||10.093|
|4||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||58||1:28’10.806||24.892|
|8||18||Spear Stroll||Aston Martin/Mercedes||58||1:29’02.845||1’16.931|
|ten||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin/Mercedes||58||1:29’09.812||1’23.898|
|11||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri/Red Bull||58||1:29’15.285||1’29.371|
|12||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||57||–||1 turn|
|13||23||Alexander Albon||Williams/Mercedes||57||–||1 turn|
|14||ten||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri/Red Bull||57||–||1 turn|
|15||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||57||–||1 turn|
|16||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas/Ferrari||57||–||1 turn|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||57||–||1 turn|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams/Mercedes||55||–||3 rounds|
|14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine/Renault||27||–||Water leak|
How was the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Verstappen just kept his pole advantage in the race at Turn 1, with the majority of the field starting on the medium compound tyres, ahead of Perez, Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton (mercedes) and carlos sainz (Ferrari). En route to Turn 6, Sainz rushed inside Hamilton and sent him wide on the exit, with the Mercedes briefly sent airborne over the kerb.
Hamilton initially held onto his position, having lined up the apex of Turn 7, but was asked to allow Sainz to come back in front, which he did on Lap 4. One lap later Hamilton DRS overtook Sainz into Turn 9, but Sainz stayed in DRS range and repaid the favor at the same turn four laps later.
In the second Mercedes, george russell then passed Hamilton – who complained of a loss of power – for fifth place.
Verstappen took a 2.7 second lead over Perez on lap 10, with Leclerc and Sainz equidistant 3 seconds behind them. Behind the Mercedes duo, Lando Norris ran seventh for McLarenwhile, during his very last Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel in a duel with the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.
Ocon was the first in the top 10 to go for hard tires on lap 15, followed by Perez and Russell (who had a very slow stop and was released on the way to Norris, resulting in a 5 second time penalty) one turn later. Perez joined the fight against Vettel which cost him time in his battle for second place with Leclerc – both in the race and in the World Championship standings.
Sainz stopped on lap 18 and was also caught behind Vettel, as Verstappen and Leclerc raced long in the top two places. Verstappen stopped on lap 20, allowed Leclerc to lead until he pitted two laps later. A slow stop meant he joined just ahead of Sainz but well behind Perez, who caught Verstappen in that stint and was 2 seconds behind his team-mate at half distance.
Leclerc closed in on Perez, who pitted again for new toughs on round 34 – as the teams juggled the pros and cons of committing to a one-stop or two-stop strategy. Ironically, Leclerc was told to oppose if Perez didn’t – so the scenario could have been reversed.
Sainz and Russell pitted for the second time on lap 40, with Russell taking his 5 second penalty at this point which put Hamilton well ahead.
Perez was delayed by having to pass and then pass Hamilton as their strategies converged with 12 laps to go, with Hamilton using the second DRS zone to good effect. But once cleared, Perez had to close the 10-second gap with Leclerc to a stoppage in second.
Sainz caught and passed Hamilton for fourth place, just as Hamilton was forced to slow down with a hydraulic problem and he retired on tour – the team’s first mechanical retirement of the season.
Despite Verstappen telling him he could go “all the way” on the tyres, Perez didn’t have enough pace to close enough to get into Leclerc’s DRS range on the final lap.
Verstappen won by more than 8s from Leclerc and Perez, with Sainz a distant fourth, ahead of Russell, Norris, Ocon, Spear Stroll (Aston Martin), Daniel Ricardo (McLaren) and Vettel – who scored a point in his last race thanks to Hamilton’s retirement.
Mick Schumacher (Haas) and Nicholas Latifi (williams) joined at turn 5 but the two joined without provoking a safety car. Schumacher was penalized 5 seconds for causing the clash.
Alonso retired from his Alpine F1 career on lap 28 with a water leak.
Formula 1 Grand Prix Abu Dhabi 2022 fastest laps
|3||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||1’28.879||0.488||50||213.904|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||1’28.972||0.581||52||213.680|
|6||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1’29.392||1.001||54||212.676|
|seven||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri/Red Bull||1’29.489||1.098||40||212.446|
|8||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1’29.600||1.209||53||212.183|
|9||18||Spear Stroll||Aston Martin/Mercedes||1’29.620||1.229||42||212.135|
|15||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin/Mercedes||1’30.312||1.921||35||210.510|
|16||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1’30.352||1.961||47||210.417|
|19||ten||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri/Red Bull||1’31.081||2,690||17||208.732|