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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023

Winners and Losers from 2023 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying

Who has made the list of Winners and Losers from the final qualifying session of 2023 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?

Verstappen Piastri Abu Dhabi
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

The final qualifying statistics for 2023 read thus.

Max Verstappen 12, Charles Leclerc two, Sergio Perez two, Carlos Sainz two and Lewis Hamilton one.

Verstappen, perhaps rightfully so given the season he has had will start from a fourth straight Yas Marina pole, where the pole-sitter has won the last eight races.

He's won the last three at the track and is on course for a 19th win from 22 races.

The Red Bull driver is where we start our Winners and Losers round-up.

Winner - Max Verstappen

What Verstappen started in Bahrain, he will finish in Abu Dhabi.

Pole was secured at both events and in the middle, he has unleashed the greatest season by any driver in the history of the World Championship.

The idea of greatness is to make the incredible look mundane and routine. As Singapore proved, F1 is extremely hard.

Who knows if Red Bull's RB20 will be as dominant as the RB19? The race will be the last chance to watch one of the greatest drivers of all-time in perfect harmony with one of the greatest cars.

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Loser - Lando Norris

Want an example of the fine margins at this level of elite sport?

Lando Norris was it.

While Verstappen struggled his way around Yas Marina in practice, Norris seemed on it and was a contender for pole. He was three-tenths down on scrubbed tyres after the first Q3 runs and well-placed to launch a pole bid.

He went purple in Sector 1 on the final lap, and set a personal best in Sector 2.

Until he got lairy on the throttle under the hotel and lost the lap. Second turned into fifth, cue one downbeat McLaren.

Winner - Oscar Piastri

On the flip-side, it was a good day for Oscar Piastri.

There was nothing out-worldly special from the Australian, but he kept everything nice, neat and tidy and earned a reward of third on the grid.

McLaren's race pace might be good enough to keep Verstappen in sight should he clear off as expected, but given Ferrari's struggles and Mercedes firmly out of the picture, second place has to be the minimum for Piastri.

What also helps him is that Yas Marina is a familiar track. Prior to this weekend, the last track he raced on previously in the junior ranks was Monza in September.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Lewis Hamilton

This slot could have also gone to Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz or Logan Sargeant, but their various tribulations were mainly their fault.

Perez and Sargeant lost lap times to exceeding track limits (simply stay within the white lines and it won't be a problem) while Sainz was dumped after believing he got traffic in Q1.

That was questionable, but Hamilton's elimination in Q2 summed up his season.

He was pessimistic after Friday, believing Q3 would be a struggle, and was booted out by team-mate George Russell in the end after only improving to P10 in the second segment on his second lap.

Mercedes is staggering towards the finish line, and the W14 won't be missed by the team, but the fact that it is still struggling to understand the basics of the regulations at this stage in the second season of them, does not bode well for the 2024 car.

That eighth World Championship looks as far away as it ever has.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - Yuki Tsunoda

AlphaTauri is seven points behind Williams - and Yuki Tsunoda seems to be on a personal mission to get the eight points it needs to leapfrog into seventh in the Constructors'.

This is a track he has always gone well at.

He finished fourth let us not forget in 2021 at a time the world's attention was drawn towards a battle a little further along the track on the final lap for his best finish in F1.

The AT04 is working well, and the Japanese racer demolished Daniel Ricciardo, starting nine places higher on the grid.

The future is bright at AlphaTauri.

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

F1 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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