Max Verstappen led from start to finish as the Dutchman ended his 2020 campaign on a high, with Formula 1 bringing down the curtain on the season in Abu Dhabi.
Lewis Hamilton returned for Mercedes having missed the Sakhir Grand Prix through Covid-19, but could only finish third behind teammate Valtteri Bottas who was unable to apply any real pressure on Verstappen.
After his sensational performance at the Sakhir Grand Prix as Hamilton’s stand-in for Mercedes, George Russell returned to his usual Williams seat and could only muster a 15th place finish, bringing the 22-year-old back down to earth.
Sergio Perez’s race lasted just a handful of laps as the Mexican suffered a power issue on a nightmare final Sunday of the season, with the Sakhir Grand Prix winner still without a seat for 2021.
Sebastian Vettel finished his final race as a Ferrari driver in 14th, completing a desperately disappointing year, with the four times world champion departing the Scuderia to join Aston Martin for the 2021 season.
Daniel Ricciardo claimed a fifth place finish in his final race for Renault before next season’s switch to McLaren while Carlos Sainz took sixth place ahead of his move to Ferrari.
DRIVER OF THE DAY - Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
While the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix won’t live long in the memory, Verstappen produced the sort of display that suggests he can at least challenge for the drivers’ title next season. There was a degree of control in the Dutchman’s performance that meant the two Mercedes never got close to him. A few more races like that next season and Hamilton might have something to worry about.
WHERE THE RACE WAS WON
1/55 - Verstappen gets away well! All 20 cars get around the opening lap and Verstappen has a good lead. Bottas still in P2 and Hamilton behind him, although Bottas struggled off the line AGAIN!
10/55 - Perez DNF! In what could be his last race in F1, Perez has had to stop and that is his afternoon over. What happened there? It was a technical fault of some sort. The engine completely went on him. There was nothing Perez could do about that.
Verstappen takes the chequered flag! Red Bull end their season on a high as the Dutchman leads from start to finish! Mercedes just couldn't get close to Verstappen. Bottas takes P2, Hamilton P3. McLaren also clinched third place in the constructors' championship.
BEST OVERTAKE OF THE DAY
The Yas Marina Circuit is a notoriously difficult track to overtake, but Pierre Gasly went on a bit of a charge in the middle sector of the race, passing three drivers in three laps. But it was the Frenchman’s overtake of Daniil Kvyat after nine laps that was most eye-catching, jumping late on the brakes to dive down the inside of his AlphaTauri teammate.
BEST PIT EXCHANGE OF THE DAY
“You can turn the engine down now if you want to,” Verstappen said on the Red Bull team radio six laps from the end. This illustrated just how comfortable this race was for the Dutchman. It’s not often you can take your foot off the pedal with two Mercedes behind you.