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Motor racing-Team by team analysis of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Metro US

Motor racing-Team by team analysis of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

(Reuters) – Team by team analysis of Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (in championship order):

MERCEDES (Lewis Hamilton 2, Valtteri Bottas 6)

Heartbreak for Hamilton after Red Bull title rival Max Verstappen beat him to the win and the title in a safety-car aided last-lap pass.

The Briton, starting second, had seized the lead from the pole-sitting Red Bull into the first corner and until the safety car on lap 53 of 58 had appeared in control of the race and well on his way to an unprecedented eighth title.

The resumption of the race, to allow for one final lap of flat-out racing has sparked controversy, with Mercedes lodging two separate protests.

Stewards dismissed both, but Mercedes has lodged its intention to appeal against the dismissal of its protest related to the safety car restart.   

Bottas, in his last race for the team ahead of a move to Alfa Romeo next year, finished sixth. It was enough to help Mercedes clinch a record eighth straight constructors’ title.

RED BULL (Max Verstappen 1, Sergio Perez 15)

Verstappen needed a miracle to salvage his title hopes and the racing gods duly delivered with a perfectly-timed safety car that allowed the Dutchman to pit for fresh tyres.

His last-lap overtake for the lead on the newer rubber clinched the 24-year-old’s first title.

Perez played a strong supporting role, holding up Hamilton after the first pit-stops, but was ultimately called in by Red Bull to retire the car. The Mexican was, however, classified 15th.

FERRARI (Carlos Sainz 3, Charles Leclerc 10)

Sainz finished third to round out his first year with the Italian glamour team with four podium finishes. Leclerc scored a sole point in 10th.

The sport’s most successful team, Ferrari ended the season on a high, wrapping up third in the constructors’ standings ahead of McLaren and cementing a strong recovery from a difficult season last year.

MCLAREN (Lando Norris 7, Daniel Ricciardo 12)

Norris started the race a promising third but ran wide at the first corner and lost positions. The Briton ended the race seventh. Ricciardo started 10th but finished outside the points in 12th.

Still, the former champions had plenty of highlights to celebrate in 2021, including their first win since 2012 at the Italian Grand Prix, which was also their first one-two result since 2010.

ALPINE (Fernando Alonso 8, Esteban Ocon 9)

The Renault-owned French manufacturer wrapped up fifth in the constructors’ standings with both cars finishing the race in the points.

ALPHATAURI (Yuki Tsunoda 4, Pierre Gasly 5)

Tsunoda ended a difficult rookie campaign with his best finish of the season in fourth. Team mate Gasly backed that up in fifth, delivering a strong double-points finish for Red Bull’s Italian sister team. Still, it was not enough to beat midfield rivals Alpine to a top-five finish in the constructors’ standings.

ASTON MARTIN (Sebastian Vettel 11, Lance Stroll 13)

The Silverstone-based team failed to score, with both cars finishing outside the points. Vettel lost time stuck behind Giovinazzi while Stroll was left frustrated at race control’s decision to let only some of the lapped cars go past the leaders under the safety car.

WILLIAMS (George Russell retired, Nicholas Latifi retired)

Neither of the Grove-based team’s two cars finished the race. Russell parked up in the pits after losing drive on the 27th lap. Latifi’s crash on lap 53 brought out the controversial race-deciding safety car.

ALFA ROMEO (Kimi Raikkonen retired, Antonio Giovinazzi retired)

Alfa Romeo also failed to get its cars to the finish. Kimi Raikkonen, driving in his last race, was the first retirement on Sunday, parking up with a brake failure after just 25 laps.

Giovinazzi, on his way to Formula E after being replaced by Chinese rookie Guanyu Zhou for next year, pulled over only a few laps later with what appeared to be a malfunctioning gearbox.

HAAS (Mick Schumacher 14, Nikita Mazepin did not start)

Schumacher, son of seven-times champion and Ferrari great Michael, ended his rookie season with a 14th-placed finish. Team mate Mazepin was ruled out ahead of the start after the Russian tested positive for COVID-19. The American-owned team were the only squad on the grid not to score a point this year.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Clare Fallon)

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