Verstappen closes the World Cup with victory and Fernando Alonso finishes seventh

Carlos Sainz lives a new drama with abandonment in the last lap


The Dutch driver Max Verstappen (Red Bull) has closed the 2023 season of the Formula 1 World Championship with a victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in a race in Yas Marina in which the Spanish Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) confirmed his fourth position in the Drivers’ general standings with a seventh place and in which Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) experienced a new drama with abandonment on the last lap.

In this way, the three-time champion completes an almost perfect year in which he has achieved 19 wins in the 22 races contested, a record for a season. With the RB19, ‘Mad Max’ also established a new record for consecutive victories in Formula 1 (10) and also became the driver with the most podiums in a campaign (21).

In the twilight of Yas Marina, Verstappen topped a podium on which he was accompanied by the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), focused on the fight for the Constructors’ World Championship, and the British George Russell (Mercedes).

The Dutchman, who defended his pole despite Leclerc’s good start, opened a definitive gap with his rivals after the first round of pit stops. The fight has since focused on the rest of the podium positions, with the ‘Scuderia’ driver determined to win second place in the Constructors’ category for the ‘Prancing Horse’ against Mercedes.

Aware that Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) had a five-second penalty for a contact with the British Lando Norris (McLaren), he wanted to give second place to the Mexican on the last lap to keep Russell, who was coming from behind, slowing down. Checo’, and thus try to achieve runner-up status. However, he was a second away from achieving it.

All in a desperate attempt by Ferrari, which once again experienced a new drama at the hands of Carlos Sainz, who started sixteenth after being left out due to traffic in Q1. The Madrid native extended his stops with the aim of getting a safety car into the fight, but his opportunity never came and he ended up retiring on the last lap.

Things went much better for Fernando Alonso, seventh this Sunday. “I’m going to think that I’m going to finish seventh in the Drivers’ World Championship, Norris and Leclerc are going to overtake me tomorrow, and if there is any improvement in that, fine,” he explained on Saturday after the qualifying session.

However, the Asturian has finally managed to finish fourth overall after Sainz – with whom he was tied at 200 points – failed to finish; that Norris finished fifth just behind Pérez in the race (205); and that Leclerc, with whom he is tied on points (206), has achieved fewer podiums this year than him.