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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023

Winners and Losers from 2023 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

For the final time in 2023, check out who has made the Winners and Losers. Who impressed and did not from the 2023 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?

Verstappen Leclerc Russell podium Abu Dhabi 2023
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

And now the end is here.

Now, on the face of it, the 2023 season won't go down as a classic. In fact, it is possible to argue it will be largely forgotten as the year Max Verstappen destroyed the record books.

But behind him in Formula 1.5, it was a thrilling season. The evidence for this comes in the fact that Mercedes and Ferrari were squabbling over P2 in the Constructors' until the final of 1,383 laps in the season and fourth-seventh in the Drivers' were separated by just six points.

But we start our final Grand Prix Winners and Losers with in the place you'd expect.

Winner - Max Verstappen

This is one of the greatest seasons by any athlete in any sport ever.

It is up there with Wilt Chamberlain's 1961-1962 season in the NBA - the year he achieved the surely never to be repeated 100 points in a game, or Tiger Woods in the 2000 season.

That year, Woods won the US Open, The Open and the PGA Championship only failing to take The Masters at Augusta from the Majors. He won nine events on the tour that year.

Motorsport wise, there is Richard Petty's 1967 NASCAR campaign in which The King won 27 of 48 races in the Grand National Series that is today's Cup or Marc Marquez's 2019 MotoGP campaign where he finished first or second in every race bar one - in which he crashed.

19 wins from 22 races in such crushing fashion is a record that will surely never be beaten in F1.

It is easy to knock Verstappen's dominance off as boring, but such repeated excellence needs to be admired. It is not easy, as Singapore proved.

What did Verstappen say?

"It has been an incredible season, it was a bit emotional on the last lap, knowing it was the last time I was sitting in the car which has given me a lot."

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Loser - Ferrari

In the battle for best of the rest behind Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari had just four points between them.

Despite Charles Leclerc's late antics to try and back up George Russell with Red Bull's Sergio Perez having copped a five-second time penalty, it failed by three points.

The Scuderia will be full of ifs, buts and maybes but the absolute is that this was a failed season.

It was best placed to attack Red Bull but the SF-23 has proved well short of the F1-75 of last season, and while it did stop the Red Bull clean sweep with victory in Singapore,

What did Frederic Vasseur say?

"We did our best in a fair way when we let Perez go to give him the DRS to help as much as possible.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - George Russell

An ill Russell got exactly what he deserved this weekend with just a second podium of the season.

The Mercedes driver has had, by his own admission, a terrible season, but this performance at Yas Marina should give him major confidence heading into the winter.

He had at least three-tenths in his back-pocket over a Lewis Hamilton who frankly viewed the weekend as more of a chore than anything, struggling throughout and coming home a lowly ninth. To be fair to Hamilton, it would have been eighth but for a snap of oversteer when attacking Yuki Tsunoda at Turn 9 on the final lap.

But Russell had a solid, somewhat quiet weekend that he needed. He had the pace and quietly put it down without any major dramas on his side of the garage.

That is exactly what he needed.

What did Russell say?

"It was really tense at the end as the tyres were dropping off, but just really pleased to have secured P2 for the team."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Carlos Sainz

Slipping from fourth to seventh in the Drivers' could have happened to anybody, but the manner in which Sainz did was questionable.

Starting on the Hards was a good shout from 16th on the grid, but going for a two-stop by fitting the Hards again at his first stop was strange.

This meant a second stop was mandatory, coming on the final lap, dropping out of points contention and 18th at the flag.

It sort of summed up his late-season since victory in Singapore.

What did Sainz say?

“We had nothing to lose starting in P16 and we gave it a go but again it didn't work for us."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda has something special about the Yas Marina circuit.

He finished fourth here in 2021 and secured a best-ever qualifying this time around with sixth on the grid.

Running long on his first stint, he became the first Japanese driver since Takuma Sato in 2004 to lead a Grand Prix for five laps between Laps 18-22.

He finished eighth in the end, and his gallant effort was not quite enough to leapfrog AlphaTauri above Williams into seventh in the Constructors', falling short by three points.

But it was a excellent send-off for out-going team boss Franz Tost.

Tsunoda has turned a corner as the AT04 has rapidly improved in the late season, and his eighth was as good, if not better as an all-round package than Daniel Ricciardo's seventh in Mexico.

What did Tsunoda say?

“I wasn't able to give the biggest gift to Franz [P7 in the Constructors' Championship] but I gave it all and I showed at least my performance as appreciation for him.”

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Loser - Daniel Ricciardo

On the flipside, we have Ricciardo himself.

This was a dreadful weekend with 15th in qualifying and 11th in the race. He was in Tsunoda's shadow all weekend and never looked like getting in the mix to provide some back-up.

In fairness, he is still blowing off the cobwebs but in the seven races, the duo did together, Tsunoda scored 15 points to Ricciardo's six and was at the forefront of the late-season push.

For a driver with hopes of getting back into the Red Bull for 2025, it is not good enough and he must come out with all guns blazing in 2024 or the only time he'll be back in a Red Bull will be during show and demo runs in his retirement.

What did Ricciardo say?

“It wasn’t a bad race. We had a decent pace, but as soon as you get into a little dirty air, it’s hard"

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

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