Max Verstappen’s 19th Win Caps Truly Dominant 2023 F1 Season

Jackson Wheeler
11 Min Read


Max Verstappen rounded out the 2023 Formula 1 season with a typically emphatic victory, his 19th of the season, at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

Verstappen Makes It 19

Max Verstappen’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a relative cruise, reflecting what had gone before in 2023. Verstappen fended off a spirited challenge from Charles Leclerc across the opening of the 58 laps to retain the lead, prior to running a conventional two-stop tire strategy in a race that had little in the way of entertainment or jeopardy beneath the lights at Yas Marina. Verstappen’s winning margin was 17.9 seconds.

Verstappen’s dominance ensured he became the first driver to lead over 1,000 racing laps in a year, while his final points tally of 575 meant he dropped only 45 points all season, finishing a record 290 points clear of nearest rival Sergio Perez. Verstappen won 19 of the 22 races, stood on the podium in 21 of them, and finished all of the racing laps through the season. The victory was Verstappen’s fourth on the bounce at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix while the win means he is now alone in third place on the all-time win list, on 54, behind only Lewis Hamilton (103) and Michael Schumacher (91).

Verstappen admitted he took time to soak up the season on the cooldown lap, knowing it was his last time behind the wheel of the RB19, and reflected on the campaign.

“It will be very hard to have another season like this, we know,” said Verstappen. “Of course, you always want to do better but sometimes doing better is not only race wins and potentially winning the championship. But we will see. We are working hard for next year to have again a very competitive car. For sure all the other teams want to try and beat us out there. We are ready for the battle but for the meantime as well we are going to enjoy a little bit this year as well.”

f1 grand prix of abu dhabi

George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W14 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Joe Portlock – Formula 1//Getty Images

Mercedes Seals Second Place

Mercedes and Ferrari harbored title ambitions pre-season but once Red Bull’s performance advantage was realized they duly reset and focused on finishing best-of-the-rest. That accolade went to Mercedes, with George Russell putting in one of his best drives of the season to score third place, while an out-of-sorts Lewis Hamilton had a low-key outing but mustered ninth. Ferrari had Leclerc in second, but Carlos Sainz’s prospects were compromised by a Q1 exit on Saturday. Sainz adopted an offset strategy in the distant hope of a Safety Car intervention but that proved futile, and he finished way down the order. The outcome was that Mercedes pipped Ferrari by three points in the final reckoning. There are swings and roundabouts to the situation, with a higher finishing position obviously more noteworthy, and financially lucrative, though it means Ferrari will have more 2024 car development time in the wind tunnel than Mercedes due to Formula 1’s sliding scale regulations.

“It’s been a really challenging season, firstly as a team, but also on a personal side, not getting the results we probably deserved,” said Russell, whose podium was only his second of the campaign.

Russell also revealed that he has been battling illness during the final two events of the season.

“In Vegas [I had] a fever, couldn’t sleep, feeling awful, and had a horrendous cough that stayed with me all week. In the race I was coughing every single lap, you can’t take a deep breath because of how you’re strapped in, so it was constantly with me and pretty miserable, so I was pleased to bring it home!”

f1 grand prix of abu dhabi

Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren F1 Team drives on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Ciancaphoto Studio//Getty Images

McLaren Takes Fourth But Misses Podium

McLaren wrapped up fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, ahead of Aston Martin, with there little in the way of race day tension owing to the MCL60’s superior pace all weekend. Nonetheless there was an element of a missed opportunity for McLaren as Oscar Piastri started from third place but struggled early on and eventually wound up sixth, while Lando Norris was fifth. Norris was compromised by a slow first pit stop, causing him to cede position to Russell, and was biffed out of the way by a recovering Sergio Perez in the final stint.

“For us to catch Mercedes, to catch Ferrari, in terms of pace, we’ve been behind them for two years,” said Norris. “They’ve not really taken any steps forward and we’ve taken a massive step forward with plenty more things we know we can improve on. So, I think it’s a good time for us. A few more bits of the puzzle to put together, but we found the key pieces, and we know what direction to go.”

Said Piastri: “Just not quite as strong as I’d hoped we would be today. Struggled a bit in the first two stints, the last one seemed much stronger. Plenty to work on, but it was nice to have a clean weekend, a good qualifying and a race without things happening – we finished the year on a strong note.”

auto prix f1 uae

Alpha Tauri’s Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda drives during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit in the Emirati city on November 26, 2023.

JEWEL SAMAD//Getty Images

Tsunoda Drive Not Quite Enough For Alphatauri

AlphaTauri introduced a new floor for its AT04 as part of its bid to wrestle seventh place away from Williams in the Constructors’ Championship. The car was competitive throughout the weekend, especially in the hands of Yuki Tsunoda, who has typically thrived at the Yas Marina Circuit. Tsunoda started from sixth place on the grid and ran an offset one-stop strategy to lead a race for the first time in his career as the two-stoppers filtered through. Tsunoda went on to finish eighth, fending off Lewis Hamilton during a last lap dice, but it wasn’t quite enough for AlphaTauri, as Williams held onto seventh by three points. It was a bittersweet final race at the helm for departing AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost.

“At some point I thought we can finish potentially top six, but yeah, it just didn’t work out,” said Tsunoda. “I don’t think we have any regrets that we stayed out and tried for a one-stop. Obviously it’s a shame we didn’t finish P7, but at least I gave it everything, and happy for it. Well done to Williams, they deserve it, and thanks to Franz once again.”

Tsunoda was nonetheless voted as the Driver of the Day for his efforts.

Results

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

  1. Max Verstappen5 8 Laps
  2. Charles Leclerc + 17.993s
  3. George Russell + 20.238s
  4. Sergio Perez + 21.453s
  5. Lando Norris + 24.284s
  6. Oscar Piastri + 31.487s
  7. Fernando Alonso + 39.512s
  8. Yuki Tsunoda + 43.088s
  9. Lewis Hamilton + 44.424s
  10. Lance Stroll + 55.632s
  11. Daniel Ricciardo + 56.6229s
  12. Esteban Ocon + 66.373s
  13. Pierre Gasly + 70.360s
  14. Alex Albon + 73.184s
  15. Nico Hulkenberg + 83.696s
  16. Logan Sargeant + 87.791s
  17. Zhou Guanyu + 89.422s
  18. Carlos Sainz + 1 Lap
  19. Valtteri Bottas + 1 Lap
  20. Kevin Magnussen + 1 Lap

Final 2023 F1 Drivers’ Standings

  1. Max Verstappen Red Bull 575
  2. Sergio Perez Red Bull 285
  3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 234
  4. Charles Leclerc Ferrari 206
  5. Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 206
  6. Lando Norris McLaren 205
  7. Carlos Sainz Ferrari200
  8. George Russell Mercedes175
  9. Oscar Piastri McLaren 97
  10. Lance Stroll Aston Martin 74
  11. Pierre Gasly Alpine 62
  12. Esteban Ocon Alpine 58
  13. Alex Albon Williams 27
  14. Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 17
  15. Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 10
  16. Nico Hulkenberg Haas9
  17. Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri6
  18. Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 6
  19. Kevin MagnussenHaas3
  20. Liam LawsonAlphaTauri 2
  21. Logan Sargeant Williams 1
  22. Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri 0

Final 2023 F1 Constructors’ Championship Standings

  1. Red Bull860
  2. Mercedes 409
  3. Ferrari 406
  4. McLaren 302
  5. Aston Martin 280
  6. Alpine 120
  7. Williams 28
  8. AlphaTauri 25
  9. Alfa Romeo 16
  10. Haas 12

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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