F1 Grand Prix race results: Verstappen wins Abu Dhabi GP, claims title

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina on Sunday to claim the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship, passing rival Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the final lap of the season.

Hamilton took the lead at the start, after pole-winner Verstappen made a poor getaway, but Max lunged to the inside of Lewis at Turn 6 on the opening lap. Hamilton took the run-off in avoidance and retained his lead despite missing the second element of the chicane.

Hamilton took control of the race, although Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez played his wingman role to perfection by holding up Lewis for two laps and negating the majority of his advantage over Max.

A late safety car for a crashing backmarker allowed Verstappen to pit for soft tyres, and race control made a call to allow the lapped cars between the title contenders past the safety car and to restart the race for a final lap.

On his fresher and softer tyres, Verstappen passed Hamilton to claim the most dramatic of victories and the world title.

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2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race results

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval Points
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 58 1:30'17.345     26
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 58 1:30'19.601 2.256 2.256 18
3 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr Ferrari 58 1:30'22.518 5.173 2.917 15
4 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 58 1:30'23.037 5.692 0.519 12
5 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 58 1:30'23.876 6.531 0.839 10
6 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 58 1:30'24.808 7.463 0.932 8
7 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 58 1:31'16.545 59.200 51.737 6
8 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 58 1:31'19.053 1'01.708 2.508 4
9 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 58 1:31'21.371 1'04.026 2.318 2
10 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 58 1:31'23.402 1'06.057 2.031 1
11 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 58 1:31'24.872 1'07.527 1.470  
12 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 57 1:30'20.926 1 Lap 1 Lap  
13 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 57 1:30'25.327 1 Lap 4.401  
14 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 57 1:30'25.947 1 Lap 0.620  
15 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 55 1:24'12.571 3 Laps 2 Laps  
  Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 50 1:16'55.491 8 Laps 5 Laps  
  Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 33 50'20.298 25 Laps 17 Laps  
  United Kingdom George Russell Williams 26 41'10.855 32 Laps 7 Laps  
  Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 25 39'23.611 33 Laps 1 Lap  
  Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 0        

How the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix unfolded

From pole position Verstappen, who started on soft tyres, made a poor getaway, allowing Hamilton on mediums, to sprint into the lead. McLaren’s Lando Norris ran wide at Turn 1 from third on the grid, allowing Perez and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz ahead of him.

Verstappen lunged inside Hamilton at Turn 6 on the opening lap. He got to the apex first, briefly nosing ahead as Hamilton took to the run-off area, but Lewis then regained a big lead at the exit of Turn 7 having cut that corner. Stewards decided no investigation was necessary, as they felt then Hamilton slowed down enough, despite not giving up his track position.

Hamilton pulled out of Verstappen’s DRS range and was over 2s clear by Lap 7 and was 5s ahead by Lap 12. Perez was well clear of Sainz in third, while Norris had the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc for company in fifth – and began to suffer some gearbox issues.

Verstappen pitted on Lap 14 for hard tyres, rejoining just ahead of Leclerc, who went off at Turn 3 and lost a place to Tsunoda. Verstappen quickly passed Norris for fourth.

Hamilton pitted a lap later to cover Verstappen and also took hard tyres. He rejoined ahead of Sainz – 5s ahead of Verstappen who was still behind the Ferrari. Verstappen had a big moment behind Sainz at Turn 15, sliding off the track. Meantime, Hamilton set fastest lap and opened the gap even more.

Verstappen got past Sainz at Turn 6 on Lap 18 but was now 8s behind Hamilton, who was closing on the long-running leader Perez.

On Lap 20, Hamilton DRS-ed passed Perez into Turn 6 but Perez lunged back ahead. Perez spent the next lap holding up Hamilton as much as he could, until Hamilton DRS-ed him again at Turn 6 a lap later. That allowed Verstappen, who Perez allowed past immediately, to get within 1.3s.

Once clear, Hamilton get back into fastest-lap setting mode and pulled clear again by 5s. The long-running Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas pitted from third on Lap 31, opening the door for Verstappen to make a second stop.

Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo ground to a halt at Turn 9 on Lap 36, causing a virtual safety car. With Verstappen 6s behind, he pitted under the VSC for fresh hard tyres as Hamilton stayed out. He rejoined 17s behind Hamilton as the race went green again and pushed hard to catch him.

Norris lost fifth place when he picked up a slow puncture, putting fifth in the championship at risk, having been in a position to jump ahead of Leclerc, who’d made an extra stop under the VSC and was outside the top 10.

With five laps remaining, Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams at Turn 14, bringing out a safety car. Hamilton stayed out as Verstappen stopped for softs. Perez retired with three laps to go, handing third place to Sainz.

The race restarted with one lap to go, with Verstappen right on Hamilton’s tail and on fresh tyres. Verstappen outbraked Hamilton at Turn 5 to grab the lead, Hamilton fought back but just couldn’t find a way past again.

Verstappen pulled away to win the title on the last lap, beating Hamilton, Sainz, Tsunoda and Gasly. Norris battled back to seventh, ahead of Alonso, Ocon and Leclerc.

Kimi Raikkonen retired from his final F1 start when his Alfa suffered a brake issue and he spun into the wall at Turn 6. He was forced to retire, as did George Russell who lost drive from his Williams.

Nikita Mazepin didn’t start the race after testing positive for Covid-19 before the finale.

Mercedes claimed the 2021 F1 Constructors’ Championship.

2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix fastest laps

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 39 1'26.103     220.800
2 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 51 1'26.419 0.316 0.316 219.993
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 43 1'26.615 0.512 0.196 219.495
4 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 58 1'26.762 0.659 0.147 219.123
5 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 51 1'26.862 0.759 0.100 218.871
6 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 49 1'27.342 1.239 0.480 217.668
7 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 50 1'27.496 1.393 0.154 217.285
8 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 58 1'27.607 1.504 0.111 217.010
9 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr Ferrari 51 1'27.618 1.515 0.011 216.982
10 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 58 1'28.249 2.146 0.631 215.431
11 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 58 1'28.303 2.200 0.054 215.299
12 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 40 1'28.433 2.330 0.130 214.983
13 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 48 1'28.567 2.464 0.134 214.657
14 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 48 1'28.723 2.620 0.156 214.280
15 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 30 1'29.293 3.190 0.570 212.912
16 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 33 1'29.442 3.339 0.149 212.557
17 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 42 1'29.457 3.354 0.015 212.522
18 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 23 1'29.698 3.595 0.241 211.951
19 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 23 1'30.647 4.544 0.949 209.732

2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pitstop times

Driver Chassis Time
Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 22.124
Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 21.152
United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21.595
Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 22.461
France Esteban Ocon Alpine 21.677
United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 21.380
Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 22.283
Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 21.449
Spain Carlos Sainz Jr Ferrari 22.213
Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 21.471
Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 22.288
Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 22.338
Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 22.455
Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 21.221
Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 21.241
Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 21.669
Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 21.173
Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 21.871
Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 21.413
Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 21.304
France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 22.133
United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 22.173
Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 21.453
Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 22.056
Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 22.661
Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 21.385
Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 22.070
Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 21.909
France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 21.920

 

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