Grand prix

F1 Abu Dhabi GP Driver Ratings: Charles Leclerc’s best drive of the season? | F1

Verstappen’s dominant drive at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix summed up the F1 2022 season. Well clear of the rest of the field. Another perfect weekend for the Dutchman who stormed to his 15th victory of the year.

The Abu Dhabi GP was one of Leclerc’s finest drives in F1. Ferrari got it right with their strategy, putting Leclerc on a one-stop. It worked out and Leclerc deserves immense credit for his tyre preservation and the way he handled the late pressure from Sergio Perez. The deserving runner-up in 2022. 

It was a scrappy race from Perez at the Yas Marina Circuit. Not only did he lack Verstappen’s race pace, he simply didn’t have the ability to look after the tyres, coming under threat from Leclerc during the opening stint on the mediums. He was naive on a couple of occasions when overtaking Hamilton and Vettel as well, losing costly time to Leclerc.

Sainz wasn’t quite at Leclerc’s pace throughout the weekend in Abu Dhabi. Given how he performed in Mexico, USA and Brazil, a timely reminder for Sainz going into the winter break that he has work to do to become a genuine challenger to Leclerc let alone Verstappen.

A solid, albeit unspectacular weekend from Russell. He was narrowly beaten by teammate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying, but managed to overtake the seven-time champion during the medium tyre stint. He was going to finish behind Hamilton, but a technical issue forced him out of the race, allowing Russell to finish fifth. 

Another incredible weekend from Norris in Abu Dhabi. He got the most from the McLaren in qualifying and on race day, even picking up the fastest lap in the process. A brilliant season from a sensational driver. 

A strong end to 2022 for Ocon with yet another quiet drive to the points. He was the quicker of the two Alpines this weekend, picking up crucial points to ensure the French team finished fourth in the constructors’ championship.

Stroll was the slower of the Aston Martins in Abu Dhabi but made the most of the better two-stop strategy, allowing him to overtake retiring teammate Sebastian Vettel. A solid end to a lacklustre season for the Canadian. 

A respectable end to Ricciardo’s F1 career (at least for now). He was put out of position by his three-place grid penalty but slowly recovered as the race progressed. He fended off Vettel in the closing laps – a battle that ensured Alfa Romeo remained sixth in the drivers’ championship.

Sebastian Vettel – 8

The four-time champion deserved better on his final F1 outing. He was running inside the top seven before dropping down the pack as his one-stop strategy simply didn’t work. Vettel will be missed, particularly when he’s still performing better than he has done in recent years.

Yuki Tsunoda – 7

Tsunoda got the most out of the AlphaTauri in Abu Dhabi. He was once again quicker than teammate Pierre Gasly, ultimately finishing just outside the points in 11th. That caps off a respectable step forward for the Japanese driver.

Zhou Guanyu – 6

Zhou did his best to lead Alfa Romeo’s charge as teammate Valtteri Bottas struggled with tyre temperature throughout. He overtook Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly late on to finish 12th. A solid rookie season for Zhou but he needs to start capitalising on weekends Alfa Romeo have a car capable of finishing inside the top 10.

Alex Albon – 7

Albon got the most out of the Williams at a circuit that didn’t really suit them, surprisingly, given the long straights. If Williams have a more competitive car in F1 2023, Albon will certainly deliver.

Pierre Gasly – 5 

Another anonymous weekend from Gasly, who must be looking forward to life with Alpine next season. He was once again beaten by teammate Tsunoda.

Valtteri Bottas – 5

Bottas blamed a lack of tyre temperature for his surprise Q1 elimination in Abu Dhabi. Starting on the hard tyre, he dropped to the back of the field. He struggled to recover from his customary sluggish start, overtaking Mick Schumacher late on.

Mick Schumacher – 6

A disappointing end to Schumacher’s F1 career, clattering into Nicholas Latifi at the infamous hairpin. Without that, it was a respectable weekend from the German, out-qualifying and beating teammate Magnussen comfortably. 

Kevin Magnussen – 5

After the highs of Brazil, it was back down to reality for Magnussen in Abu Dhabi. The slower of the two Haas cars in a largely uneventful race for the Dane.

Lewis Hamilton – 7

Remarkably it was Hamilton’s first technical-related DNF since the Austria 2018. Hamilton was running a solid race up until that point, having lost ground in the first stint of the race through his battles with Sainz and Russell. Without the issue, it’s likely he’d have finished fifth.

Nicholas Latifi – 5

Latifi’s final F1 race ended prematurely after being punted out of it by Schumacher. Unfortunate, but ultimately it didn’t matter in the end. A strong finish was never on the table.

Fernando Alonso – 7

Yet another technical issue put Alonso out of the race – a suspected water leak according to Alpine.

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