Champion Max Verstappen ends F1 season with 15th win

Nov 19, 2022, 4:36 PM | Updated: Nov 20, 2022, 9:46 am
Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany burns the tires as he finished his last race in car...

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany burns the tires as he finished his last race in career at the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov.20, 2022. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, Pool)

(AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, Pool)

              Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany burns the tires as he finished his last race in career at the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov.20, 2022. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, Pool)
            
              Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and team's principal Christian Horner celebrate Verstappen's third championship title after the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
            
              Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico,left, and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, right, celebrate with team Verstappen's third championship title after the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
            
              Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain in action during the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
            
              El monegasco Charles Leclerc, de Ferrari, corre el Gran Premio de Abu Dabi, Emiratos Árabes Unidos, el domingo 20 de noviembre de 2022 (AP Foto/Hussein Malla)
            
              Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico makes a pit stop during the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov.20, 2022. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, Pool)
            
              Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands burns tires after he won the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov.20, 2022. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, Pool)
            
              Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, left, and Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico celebrate at the prion first and third place respectively during the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
            
              Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates after he won the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov.20, 2022. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
            
              Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel, of Germany, top row center, poses for a picture with other drivers ahead of the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix, at the Yas Marina racetrack, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
            
              Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain in action during the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
            
              El monegasco Charles Leclerc, de Ferrari, corre el Gran Premio de Abu Dabi, Emiratos Árabes Unidos, el domingo 20 de noviembre de 2022 (AP Foto/Hussein Malla)
            
              Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico makes a pit stop during the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov.20, 2022. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, Pool)
            
              Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands burns tires after he won the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov.20, 2022. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, Pool)
            
              Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, left, and Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico celebrate at the prion first and third place respectively during the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
            
              Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates after he won the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov.20, 2022. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
            
              Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, left, and Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico lead at the start during the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
            
              Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands in action during the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A year after one of the most controversial finishes in the history of Formula One, Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was anything but.

Max Verstappen, as usual this season, was far ahead of the rest on his way to a record-extending 15th win of the season.

“Incredible to win again here, 15th win of the season is unbelievable,” Verstappen said. “It’s been really enjoyable to work with the whole team and to be able to achieve something like this this year.”

At the track where he beat Lewis Hamilton last year — after a restart call that is still hotly disputed to this day –Verstappen held off his teammate Sergio Perez at the start and didn’t face a serious challenge after that in the season-ending race.

Instead, much of the attention was on retiring four-time champion Sebastian Vettel battling in the midfield pack in his final race, while a hydraulic problem ended Lewis Hamilton’s race for Mercedes as the seven-time champion finished an F1 season without a win for the first time in his career.

“I am very pleased it is over and done with,” Hamilton said. “I gave it everything, but ultimately the last race was like my whole season. It summed up my year.”

There was potential for a fight for second place on track and in the championship standings, but little real drama.

Perez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc came into the race equal on points, just like Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton did last year. Leclerc got past Perez by opting for one less pit stop and managed his old tires so that Perez couldn’t get close enough to try an overtake.

That thwarted Red Bull’s bid to have its drivers place first and second, as Leclerc finished three points ahead of Perez in the standings. It meant Verstappen’s refusal to yield sixth place to his teammate at the last race in Brazil — which left Red Bull facing questions over an apparent rift in the team and was followed by a wave of abusive comments on social media aimed at Verstappen and his family — turned out not to be decisive at the end of the season.

“I knew the only possibility to beat Checo (Perez) today was with a different strategy and playing with the tire management, which we did really well today,” Leclerc said. “I really hope next year we can do a step forward to fight for the championship.”

Leclerc and Ferrari seemed able to challenge Verstappen for the title at the start of the season, but Red Bull improved its car performance advantage through the season. Errors on track from Leclerc and in Ferrari’s race strategy held them back too.

Carlos Sainz was fourth in the other Ferrari, while George Russell was fifth despite a five-second penalty when the Mercedes team released him from a pit stop into the path of another car. Lando Norris was sixth for McLaren, ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Norris’ teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who is without a race contract for 2023 and is likely to be Red Bull’s reserve driver next year.

Vettel placed 10th for Aston Martin as he retires from F1 after 16 years.

___

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Western Illinois secures 86-78 victory over Southern Indiana

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) — Trenton Massner had 23 points in Western Illinois’ 86-78 win over Southern Indiana on Wednesday night. Massner also contributed seven assists for the Leathernecks (3-4). Vuk Stevanic shot 5 of 8 from the field and 7 for 8 from the line to add 17 points. Jesiah West was 7-of-9 shooting and […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Jones’ 16 lead Xavier past SE Louisiana 95-63

CINCINNATI (AP) — Colby Jones’ 16 points helped Xavier defeat SE Louisiana 95-63 on Wednesday night. Jones also added seven assists for the Musketeers (5-3). Zach Freemantle added 15 points while shooting 5 of 7 from the field and 5 for 8 from the line, and he also had 12 rebounds and five assists. Souley […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Clayl, Moore lead Missouri State past UIC 66-51

CHICAGO (AP) — Donovan Clay and Chance Moore scored 17 points each as Missouri State beat UIC 66-51 on Wednesday night. Clay added nine rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and three blocks for the Bears (4-3). Moore shot 7 for 11 (3 for 5 from 3-point range). Jonathan Mogbo added nine points. Jace Carter led […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Rice defeats Prairie View A&M 70-62

HOUSTON (AP) — Quincy Olivari had 27 points in Rice’s 70-62 victory against Prairie View A&M on Wednesday night. Olivari added five rebounds and four steals for the Owls (5-2). Travis Evee scored 10 points, shooting 3 for 14, including 2 for 8 from beyond the arc. Cameron Sheffield was 2 of 3 shooting and […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Reynolds, Saint Joseph’s knock off Pennsylvania 85-80 in OT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Erik Reynolds II scored 27 points, four in the overtime, as Saint Joseph’s took down Pennsylvania 85-80 on Wednesday night. Reynolds added five assists for the Hawks (3-3). Kacper Klaczek scored 19 points while going 7 of 13 (4 for 8 from distance), and added nine rebounds and six assists. Lynn Greer […]
21 hours ago
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (8) d...
Associated Press

Clarkson scores 33, Jazz beat Clippers to snap 5-game skid

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Jordan Clarkson had a season-high 33 points and five assists, and the Utah Jazz snapped a five-game losing streak with a 125-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. Collin Sexton added 21 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Jazz. Lauri Markkanen chipped in 23 points […]
21 hours ago
Champion Max Verstappen ends F1 season with 15th win