Max Verstappen secured his maiden World Championship with victory in the season-ending 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton finishing second as the race ended in a nail-biting one-lap sprint after a late Safety Car. The result, which saw Valtteri Bottas finish sixth and Sergio Perez retire, means Mercedes have clinched a record eighth consecutive constructors’ championship.
Medium-tyred Hamilton jumped soft-shod Verstappen at the start of the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, while the Dutchman came back in Turn 6, nudging him wide and over the run-off, but the Mercedes driver continued in the lead. Stewards decided not to investigate. The pit window opened when Verstappen came in on Lap 13, Hamilton a lap later, leaving Sergio Perez in the lead with the mission to hold off Hamilton.
Perez did exactly that, on Laps 20 to 21 – being dubbed a “legend” by his teammate as he let him past to continue the chase, before pitting on lap 22. The podium looked certain until he retired on Lap 56 under a Safety Car, which was brought out for a Nicholas Latifi crash.
That Safety Car, during which Verstappen pitted for soft tyres, left the race with just one lap of green flag racing remaining, producing another memorable moment in this epic season. Verstappen did make the pass on Hamilton into Lap 5, the decisive move, and while Hamilton attempted to come back towards Turn 9, there was nothing doing. History was made, as it was always going to be, and the trophy went to the Dutchman for the first time.
Carlos Sainz took the final podium place ahead of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in P4 – while AlphaTauri teammate Pierre Gasly rounded out the top five.
Valtteri Bottas struggled to P6, running as low as eighth, and losing a potential podium spot from fourth to sixth under the final Safety Car.
Alpine took points with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon eighth and ninth respectively, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc rounding out the top 10.
Alfa Romeo suffered a double retirement as Kimi Raikkonen bowed out on Lap 26, teammate Antonio Giovinazzi 10 laps later. Latifi was Williams’ second retiree after George Russell bowed out from his tenure with the team with a loss of drive on Lap 27.
Mercedes and Red Bull, therefore, shared the spoils in this incredible season-ending 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, fit for a season that will no doubt go down as one of the greatest ever.
Duncan Bagshaw, Partner at the law firm Howard Kennedy commented on the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix results:
There was a challenge to the FIA last night which was resolved very quickly. The FIA, marking its own homework, perhaps unsurprisingly said that they stood by the decision of the race director Michael Masi. Mercedes do have a case and I think it is quite likely they will take it to a court of arbitration because so much turns on the outcome of these races they may feel they really have no choice.
This decision was by the race director himself applying a rule under the regulations which is, I would say, very clear and quite explicit about what has to happen in this situation.
Everybody wanted to see that race finish in racing conditions but the rule makes it very clear that any cars that have been lapped by the leader have to be allowed to pass the leading cars and the safety car before the race is restarted and he did not allow that to happen. It’s very important for Mercedes to give the message that racing is the most important thing to this sport and that they respect the outcome of the race on the track but they must also accept the fact that commercially this is a sport that revolves around money. They have obligations to Lewis Hamilton, their team, their sponsors and many other people, it may be not so much they want to challenge this decision, that they want this season to be decided before a committee of arbitrators but simply that they don’t have any choice.
Mario Isola – Head of F1 and car racing at Pirelli commented:
We had a tense and strategic battle for the championship at the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when a virtual safety car and then a full safety car provided two pivotal moments. Max Verstappen pitted for new tyres on each occasion and tried to hunt down Lewis Hamilton, who stayed out and managed his tyres well to the finish but could do nothing about the effect of Verstappen’s fresh soft tyres on the final lap. From the beginning, the two title protagonists had diverging strategies, starting on different compounds and adopting different strategies, which we saw all the way down the field; thanks also to the unpredictable nature of this race. All three compounds played an important role, standing up extremely well to the challenge of this new track layout and contributing to a thrilling finale.
Congratulations to Max Verstappen for winning the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and for his first title and to Mercedes for clinching the constructors’ championship. It’s been an absolutely incredible season with some of the most intense competition we can remember: a fitting way to close the chapter on 13-inch tyres before starting a new one with 18 inches.
2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi GP Race Results
|Red Bull Racing
|Alpine F1 Team
|Alpine F1 Team
|Aston Martin F1 Team
|Aston Martin F1 Team
|Haas F1 Team
|Red Bull Racing Honda
|Alfa Romeo F1 Team
|Alfa Romeo F1 Team
|Haas F1 Team
2021 Constructor Standings
|Mercedes-AMG F1 Team
|Red Bull Racing
|Alpine F1 Team
|Aston Martin F1 Team
|Alfa Romeo Racing
|Haas F1 Team
Here are the team-by-team highlights:Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team statement
We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. Of course, it’s part of the game to lose a race, but it’s something different when you lose faith in racing.
Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events at the Formula 1 season finale. We have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit. In the race on Sunday, many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right.
The reason we protested the race result on Sunday was because the Safety Car regulations were applied in a new way that affected the race result after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the World Championship.
We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced. Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in Formula 1. We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with this commission to build a better Formula 1 – for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do. We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal.
To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season. You made this Formula 1 Championship title fight truly epic. Max, we congratulate you and your entire team. We look forward to taking the fight to you on the track next season.
And lastly, even though this Drivers’ Championship did not end the way we hoped, we could not be prouder of our team.
Lewis, you are the greatest racer in the history of Formula 1 and you drove your heart out for every lap of this incredible season. You’re a flawless sportsman on and off the track and you delivered a faultless performance. As a pure competitor and as a role model for millions around the world, we salute you.
Valtteri, you have been such an important part of this team, delivering five Constructors’ Championships in five seasons. Thank you for your remarkable contribution to our motorsport history. Kiitos, Valtteri.
Finally, to every one of the skilled and passionate women and men of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in Brackley and High-Performance Powertrains in Brixworth: you’ve written a historic chapter in the Silver Arrow story by winning the eighth Constructors’ Championship – in a row. This is an unprecedented achievement. In simple words: it’s awesome. You are awesome.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team best pictures:
Max Verstappen overtook great rival Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the final race of the breathtaking 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship season to win his maiden title as a late safety car at Yas Marina brought unbelievable drama to the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.
Verstappen started on pole position with Mercedes’ Hamilton in second place and it was the British driver who got past him on the opening lap to put the Dutchman on the back foot from the outset.
Mexican teammate Sergio Pérez supported Verstappen and took the lead in a strategic move after the first round of pit stops, holding off Hamilton so Verstappen could regain the crucial seven seconds needed to resume his challenge.
Red Bull Racing Honda tried different pit-stop strategies to get the edge over Mercedes, however, it looked like it was not going to be enough heading into the final laps even with a virtual safety car following Antonio Giovinazzi’s decision to pull his Alfa Romeo up by a dangerous bend.
When the Williams car of Nicholas Latifi crashed into the wall, though, the safety car came out with around five laps left and gave Verstappen the chance to attack Hamilton on fresher soft tyres with just one lap left.
Verstappen saw one final chance and overtook the seven-time champion into Turn 5 and hold off one last Hamilton lunge en route to the finish line and a dramatic maiden F1 title – the first Dutchman to win one.
Verstappen won his maiden World Championship title in his seventh F1 campaign, after a ferocious 22-race fight with reigning champion Hamilton. This head-to-head battle produced a season for the ages. By the end of it, after Verstappen took 10 victories, 10 pole positions and 18 podium finishes, the Dutchman becomes Red Bull’s second world champion, after Sebastian Vettel annexed the title for four straight years from 2010-13.
Red Bull’s title ends Mercedes’ seven-year run that coincides with the introduction of the 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrid era from 2014, while he becomes the 34th world champion in F1 history dating back to 1950.
It is the first title for Honda since Ayrton Senna won the 1991 crown and comes in the engine manufacturers’ final race with the team.
It is unbelievable. The whole race I kept fighting and then that opportunity in the last lap. It is incredible. I am still having a cramp (in his leg). It is insane. These guys (fans in the stands), my team and, of course, at home as well deserve it. I love them so much and I really, really enjoyed working with them since 2016 but this year has been incredible. Finally a bit of luck for me. I also want to say a big thank you to Checo (Sergio Pérez), he was driving his heart out as well. It was great teamwork and he is an amazing teammate. To my team, I think they know I love them, and I hope we can do this for 10, 15 years together. I want to stay with them for the rest of my life. I hope they let me. I am so happy. Christian (Horner) and Helmut (Marko) trusted me to be in the team. Our goal was to win this championship and now we have done that.
Before the last lap, of course, it was hard to believe. But you always have to keep believing; I kept on pushing the whole race to try and stay within the gaps. That helped me, they couldn’t pit for a free stop, and we could because I had no pressure from behind. Then at the end, of course, that gave me the opportunity with the fresh tires to attack and go for the move in that last lap.
My goal when I was little was, of course, to become a Formula One driver and you hope for wins and you hope to be on the podium. They play the national anthem and one day you hope they play yours. When you stand here and they tell you, you are the world champion, it is incredible especially with my Dad (Jos) and the special moment we had here.
Throughout all the years we spent together travelling for that goal and then everything comes together in the last lap. My whole team, my family, my friends, the people I grew up with go-karting, they wanted to push me to where I am today and most of them were here.
It is incredible to see all this orange here and all over the world. They have supported me throughout my whole career and the support is just incredible. I tried to keep on pushing and believe in it, even though it didn’t look like it. Sometimes miracles happen.
I had a cramp, starting the last lap. So the whole last lap on the straights when I was going full throttle, I had a massive cramp in my calf. That was not very nice, but you have to just keep it flat. You can’t back off.
When we started working together (Pérez), it’s always difficult to know exactly how it’s going to work out. Checo is just an amazing human being. It’s very rare to have a teammate like that. What he showed today, he was a real team player and I hope we can continue this for a long time.
Lewis is an amazing driver and an amazing competitor who made it really, really hard for us and I think everyone loved to see it. Of course, the two teams had some tough times but I think that is all part of the sport and it is emotion. Everyone wants to win and it could have gone either way today. Next year we will come back and try it all over again.
I am extremely happy for Max and this team because they have worked so hard for many years. The level that Max has driven this season, he really deserves the championship. I am very happy to have contributed. He has been a tremendous teammate and a great guy. I could not be happier for him. It was at a very critical point of the race (when Pérez held up Hamilton), so I am extremely happy that I could do something. I was on extremely old tyres, so there was not much I could do but I managed to take a couple of seconds out of Lewis.
Christian Horner – Team Principal
I said it was going to need something from the racing Gods in the last 10 laps and thank you Nicholas Latifi for that safety car. I have to say with the stewards, we have felt hard done by early in the race but they did great to get the race going again. It has been an insane competition and for Max to win the world championship, it is not just about here, it is about the whole year. I have to say, all credit to Lewis. He has been a phenomenal opponent all year and a great world champion and that’s what makes it even more valid to win this.
This championship came down to the last lap and a great strategy call to make that pit stop and take that set of softs and then it was down to Max to make it happen. I am just so proud of Max and the team for what we’ve been through this year and what we have achieved against some fierce and great opponents. I was screaming from Turn 5 all the way down that back straight. He got the job done.
Red Bull Racing best pictures:
Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow’s 2021 season ended with a driver on the podium thanks to Carlos Sainz’s great third place at the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and another third place for the team in the Constructors’ Championship standings. Charles Leclerc also finished in the points, in tenth place. The Scuderia is therefore the team that has got both its drivers in the top ten the most often, doing it in 17 of the 22 races.
Fifth place. Thanks to today’s third place, his fourth podium of the season and the fifth for the team, Carlos managed to get ahead of both his former teammate Lando Norris and his current one to finish fifth in the Drivers’ classification, his best ever career finish. Charles however dropped down to seventh, which is still one place higher than last year.
Tyre management. For the two Ferrari drivers, the key to the race, as expected, was tyre management. Having moved up to fourth on the opening lap, Carlos had a clear track ahead of him for most of the race. He started on Softs, making his only pit stop on lap 19, switching to a set of new Hards and then ran all the way to the chequered flag. Charles got ahead of Bottas on the opening lap and tucked in behind Norris but then began to struggle on the Softs on lap 14, pitting one lap later to switch to Hards. On lap 35, under the Virtual Safety Car, the team and Charles decided to make an additional stop given that the performance of the Hards might have been marginal in the closing stages. Unfortunately, this did not work out as Charles found himself in traffic, last in a train of cars that were all following each other very closely with DRS. Not even the final Safety Car helped the Monegasque to move up the order.
Addendum. This evening brings the curtain down on the Grand Prix season, but there are still a couple of days of action at Yas Marina. Next Tuesday and Wednesday, Charles Leclerc, Antonio Fuoco, Robert Shwartzman and Carlos Sainz will be on track for the final test of the year.
It wasn’t a great race today. The first stint wasn’t bad. Then, we tried something different and put on Medium tyres during the Virtual Safety Car. It was a decision we made together, as a team, and it just didn’t work out as we wanted it to.
Congratulations to the team for finishing in third place in the Constructors’ championship. It was not easy after a tough season last year and a big thank you goes to everyone on our team, whether at the track or at our factory at home in Maranello, for all the hard work they did to make this possible. Carlos did a great job this season and congratulations to him for fifth in the Drivers’ standings.
Huge congratulations to Max for winning the title. We raced with each other as kids as far back as karting. I know how strong he has been from the very start. It was just a matter of time before he achieved this and he deserves it.
The 2021 season ended today and the 2022 season begins from tomorrow. We will start learning a lot for the coming season starting with the test we have planned this week. We believe the foundation we have is a solid one and we will keep working to be able to fight further in the front in the next World Championship.
What a way to end my first year with Scuderia Ferrari! We knew it was going to be a tough race for the tyres but we used our experience of the entire year to extend the life of my Softs in the first stint and then to look after my Hards until the end of the race.
To sign off my first season with the Scuderia with a podium, a third place in the Constructors’ Championship and a fifth in the Drivers’ is a great way to head into the winter break. I want to thank all the Tifosi and the entire team, including Charles, the management and every single member of the factory and race team for the welcome I’ve had this year. I felt at home at Ferrari from the very first day and that, along with their incredible effort all year long, has been key to improving race by race and finishing this first season strongly.
Finally, I want to congratulate both Max and Lewis for their great season. I’m happy for Max, so a special congratulation on the Championship title. I’m already looking forward to next season! Forza Ferrari!
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
We wanted to finish this season with a smile and we did it. Having Carlos on the podium was the best way to end a championship in which we made significant progress compared to last year. We are aware that the gap to those fighting for the titles is still very big, but it cannot be denied that we took a considerable step forward over the course of the season. Third place in the Constructors’ Championship was down to the efforts of everyone in the team, at the track and back in Maranello, who worked really hard with determination, humility and in a united fashion. This team spirit and this will to improve together also extend to our drivers, Carlos and Charles, who have shown with their performance and their behaviour that they are up to the task they have been given as Scuderia Ferrari drivers. They are the best pairing on the grid.
Now we can concentrate 100% on the development of next year’s car when we want to give our fans all around the world something to cheer about. In fact, we thank them for their unwavering support, even at the most difficult moments. Finally, I want to thank our partners who continue to support us, first and foremost Philip Morris International, who has been with us for over forty years. Their support is always important and will continue to be so in the future.
Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team best pictures:
Hear from McLaren Formula 1 drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, and Team Principal Andreas Seidl after the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
I thought from my side it was a decent race. I lost out a little bit at the start – I maybe just didn’t do the best job or place the car exactly where I should’ve done. After that, the race was going very well, I was keeping up with the Ferrari, the pace was pretty strong and then we had a slow puncture, which just took us out of the race and I lost a lot of points and a lot of positions because of that. Just more unlucky times! But the team did a good job today. I feel like I drove a solid race and it was just unfortunate again. There’s nothing we could’ve done, but I think we should still be happy with the way we ended the season. We weren’t quite quick enough at times, but that’s not down to a lack of effort.
Thanks to the whole team for all their hard work. They’ve been amazing all season. We still have a couple of days of testing to go before the break, but soon it’ll be time for a well-deserved break and a reset before next year.
We made a position on the first lap, which put us in the fight with the Alpines. I felt like I had a bit more pace than them, but it was honestly just really tricky to overtake. We tried to stick it out but with the Virtual Safety Car, we lost positions. I think in clear air I would’ve had a bit more pace to show, but it was just tricky with track position. That’s what happens when you qualify a little too far back. Something I want to improve next year is the performance on Saturdays, and I think that’ll make Sundays a bit easier.
Thanks to the team for their hard work this year. We’ve had some fantastic moments, Monza being the highlight, and I can’t wait to build on the progress we’ve made in 2021. Before that, I’m looking forward to heading home, recharging the batteries a bit and getting ready to come back fighting next year.
We end a positive season with a tricky and dramatic race. Lando did well to bring the car home in the points after plenty of disruption towards the end of the race. Unfortunately, for Daniel, the timing of the Safety Car limited his opportunity to fight with the Alpines. We thank Lando and Daniel for their hard work this year. They’ve helped us score the most points since 2012, secured five podiums, and achieved our first win in nine years.
I’d also like to thank several groups of people for their commitment and dedication after this long season. Our race team, who spend their weekends away and sacrifice special moments with loved ones in service to the team, chasing performance at every opportunity, and our team back in Woking for their dedication and support around the clock to put us in the best possible position to perform on the track. We’re also lucky to have two fantastic simulators and development drivers in Oliver Turvey and Will Stevens. With so many new circuits this year, their work has been even more important.
To our fans, whose support we feel all around the world, and are the reason we do what we do: we thank you for your continued passion and friendship and we hope you’ve enjoyed following our journey this year. To our sponsors, without whom we simply wouldn’t be able to go racing: we value our partnerships and look forward to enjoying more success with you in the near future.
To F1 and the FIA, who have worked exceptionally hard to deliver this season under tricky circumstances: that work has been rewarded with one of the most exciting seasons in memory. At the same time, we thank the outgoing FIA President Jean Todt for his service to our sport and wish his successor well.
Coming into the 2021 season, one of the biggest changes for our team was the change of engine supplier. With the help of Mercedes HPP, we’ve been able to successfully implement this new power unit into our car, helping us deliver our first win since 2012. We also thank Pirelli for their hard work and collaboration, all while developing brand new 18-inch tyres for the new regulations next year.
Finally, it’s been an incredibly exciting year of Formula 1, and as a team, we’re proud of the progress we’re making and the journey we’re on. We’re ready to take on the new regulations in 2022 as we embark on this new era of Formula 1.
McLaren Racing best pictures:
Esteban and Fernando started well and held positions during the opening laps of the 58-lap 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. As things got tense upfront for the title protagonists, Esteban and Fernando held firm in the ninth and eleventh after the formation of a DRS train.
Having started on Softs, Esteban was the first to pit and he switched to the Hard compounds on lap 16. Fernando, who started on the Hards, kept on touring the Yas Marina Circuit until lap 36 when a Virtual Safety Car was called and he took this window to box for Mediums.
The Spaniard exited the pits in eighth with Esteban tenth having stopped much earlier. After some attacking and defensive battles with the Alpha Tauris and McLarens, Fernando found himself in ninth and Esteban was just behind in tenth. The pair then moved up once place each after Sergio Perez retired his car.
A late Safety Car threw everything into disarray, with a one-lap sprint to the finish set to decide the final standings in the World Championship. Under the Abu Dhabi fireworks, Fernando and Esteban crossed the line in eighth and ninth at the chequered flag, to eventually seal the fifth position in the constructors’ standings.
It was a fun race out there tonight and to see the championship fight go down to the last lap was exciting. For our race, we started on the Hard tyres and we did well to benefit from the Safety Car this time. I enjoyed the fights we had with the Alpha Tauris and to score double points for the team is a good result for Alpine. We weren’t quite as competitive this weekend, but we executed another strong race, so it’s a credit to the team. We now need to reset for next year and make sure we have a good winter ahead of 2022. I would also like to say Congratulations to Max Verstappen for winning the title. It was only a matter of time that he won the trophy and whilst there was some fortune in the incidents today, I think he is a deserving champion.
Congratulations to Max [Verstappen] for winning the championship. It’s well deserved as this year he’s been great and hopefully one day we’ll be up there battling with him in the future: that’s our aim looking forward. In terms of today, I’d say it was a good race for us. We did well on the strategy we had going from Softs to Hards on a one-stop. We didn’t benefit from the virtual safety car and we lost two places there, unfortunately. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t, that’s the way it is! I’m very happy to end the season on a strong note and that’s a positive. Thanks to everyone at Alpine F1 Team at Enstone and Viry for their hard work all season. Let’s keep pushing!”
Laurent Rossi, Alpine CEO:
Firstly, congratulations to Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes for a fantastic finale to the season. It was a brilliant end to a captivating year in Formula 1 and the perfect advert for what an entertaining sport we have the privilege to compete in. The drama they created today only makes us hungrier to be up at the top of the grid fighting for wins and championships in the near future. That is our ultimate goal and we will not stop the hard work to achieve that. Our race today was a fitting end to what has been a very memorable campaign. Both Fernando and Esteban battled hard and dug deep to score double points. Credit to them, to the strategists, to the pit-stop crew and to everyone at Enstone and Viry who has contributed to this success and consolidating fifth in the championship.
I hope everyone in the team enjoys a good break over Christmas while we keep an eye on seizing future opportunities, especially from next year with the rule changes. Thanks to everyone on both sides of the Channel for a great season, capped with memorable races including Fernando’s podium and Esteban’s victory. We want to create more memories and moments like this and we’ll remain motivated yet humble in achieving our targets.
Alpine F1 Team best pictures:
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda finished the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship season on a high with fourth place for Yuki Tsunoda and fifth spot for Pierre Gasly at the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
With Max Verstappen claiming an incredible maiden title ahead of them for Red Bull Racing Honda, the dynamic duo weaved their way through the field to produce an excellent finish to an encouraging season.
Frenchman Gasly finished the season ninth in the drivers’ standings with 110 points – including his Azerbaijan Grand Prix podium – while Japanese rookie Tsunoda’s career-best fourth-place left him 14th overall with 32 points as he starts out his career in motorsport’s elite event.
The team finished sixth in the constructors’ championship on the back of their highest ever points total of 142, which left them only 13 points behind Alpine in what was a fascinating midfield battle.
Gasly and Tsunoda are both confirmed for 2022 with an exciting off-season ahead for the team after a well-earned rest.
I’m extremely happy to finish in P5 today, it’s the best way to end this year. It’s been an incredible season, the most successful for us as a team in 15 years, we’ve scored a lot of points and there have been many highlights. We’ve focused on ourselves every single race and I think we’ve performed well this season, so I’m really proud of everyone. I’m really pleased for Max, we grew up racing together, we knew he would have been World Champion one day and he did it today. It’s well deserved and I’m also happy for Honda, after all the years of hard work they’ve managed to get this Championship in their final year.
I’m so happy, what an incredible result to end the season with. I think overall this weekend the car has been really strong, I didn’t expect the race pace to be quite as good but in the end, it has been a great day. It’s amazing to be finishing the season on such a high, it’s been a long journey getting back to this point, but I’ve really rebuilt my confidence and it’s great heading into the off-season with this incredible result. Huge congratulations to Max, it was such a tough battle throughout the season and I think he really deserved it today. I want to thank him also for giving this great result to Honda, as he’s given them the best way to celebrate their last year in F1.
Franz Tost (Team Principal)
What an unbelievable race for the final round here in Abu Dhabi. Congratulations to Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Honda for winning the World Championship title, they did an incredible job during the year and Max really deserved this. This year he was the fastest driver and the team did a fantastic job.
We are also happy from our side, because today we brought home a very good race result, the best of the year, and collected 22 points with Yuki in 4thand Pierre in 5th position, having started the race in 8thand 12th. We mixed up the strategy, with Yuki starting the race on the Mediums whilst Pierre was on a new set of hard tyres. Both of them did a very clever first stint and managed their tyres very well. Pierre got caught up behind Alonso, I think he could’ve been much faster but nevertheless, thanks to the safety car and very good strategy decisions, the team managed to cross the chequered flag with both drivers in the top 5.
We finish the season on 142 points, this is the highest we’ve ever scored in the history of the team and only 13 points behind Alpine. The team made a big step forward in all areas and I’m now really looking forward to next year with hopefully a competitive new car to fight for strong positions.
Scuderia AlphaTauri Team best pictures:
Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team narrowly missed out on the points finish in the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel bounced back from a challenging qualifying to take 11th at the finish while Lance Stroll was disadvantaged by a late Safety Car to take 13th.
A wild championship decider featured a late Safety Car that could have provided the team with a points-scoring finish, but on-track events went against both Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll.
It was a tricky race today and we were not able to benefit from the late Safety Car because we were not waved through to overtake, which was frustrating and I did not understand. It was a late chance to make up some places and potentially aim for points after we made the decision to pit again. P13 is not how we wanted to end the season and my 100th Grand Prix, but we have learned a lot this year that will put us in good stead for 2022. It has been great to be a part of Aston Martin’s first year back in Formula One, and I am sure there is a bright future ahead.
I think we had some decent pace today, but we were unfortunately stuck behind the Alfa Romeo of [Antonio] Giovinazzi for too long and that cost us too much time. When we were in clear air, the pace was good, but there was only so much we could do. The Safety Car situation at the end may have been unprecedented and we were just unable to end the season with points and finished P11. I also want to say congratulations to both Lewis [Hamilton] and Max [Verstappen] because both deserved the World Championship this year.
Sebastian and Lance both drove fault-free races to 11th and 13th respectively. That was not what we were hoping for – a double points finish was our aim – but we simply did not have the race pace necessary to make the progress required and there was not enough attrition ahead of us. I want to thank them both though. They have worked hard and uncomplainingly throughout a very long and extremely tough season. They both deserve a good rest, after which they will return next year; by that time we intend to offer them a more competitive car relative to those of our principal competitors. I also want to thank our staff back at the factory, and at the races, who never gave up all season. They too will come back refreshed next year, ready to push for better results than we have had this year.
Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team best pictures:
Nicholas Latifi and George Russell both retired from the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Both drivers lined up on the medium Pirelli tyres at the start of the race, Nicholas starting 16th and George 17th.
George was forced to retire from the race on lap 26 due to a gearbox issue. Nicholas meanwhile pitted on lap 28 for the hard compound tyre, before retiring due to an accident on lap 50. Williams Racing secured eighth in the 2021 FIA Formula One World Constructors’ Championship.
We had a gearbox issue that ultimately ended our race and may have been caused by something flying into the airbox. We need to review whether that was the case but there’s nothing we can do about that, so it’s unfortunate to finish our season in that way. The important thing though is that we sealed P8 in the Constructors’ Championship, which was much more than we could have hoped for this year and was our goal at the start of the weekend. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved as a team and I’m grateful to everyone at Grove for their hard work.
It was a tough race out there today and we were struggling for pace throughout. Towards the end of the Grand Prix, I was racing with Mick Schumacher and was forced slightly wide, but fairly, at Turn Nine. My tyres got dirty from running off the track and I subsequently made a small mistake and unfortunately crashed. This obviously wasn’t how I wanted to end our season, so it’s disappointing.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance:
It is a very frustrating way to end the season with both cars failing to finish the race. George was unfortunate to collect some litter or a visor tear-off in the cooling duct, which we wouldn’t have been able to remove at a pitstop. We managed the high temperatures for a long time on the track but in the end, we couldn’t prevent the gearbox from overheating and forcing us to retire the car.
Nicholas was embroiled in a tight battle with Schumacher but despite several attempts to overtake and some robust defending from Schumacher, he couldn’t make the pass stick and eventually made a mistake in the dirty air and hit the wall.
It wasn’t the way that we wanted to secure our Championship position; however, we can still be proud of the work we did earlier in the year which got us into a strong position. Our attention now turns to the test next week followed by a well-earned rest over Christmas before we regroup to tackle the new season. Congratulations to Red Bull, Mercedes, Max and Lewis who have fought hard throughout the year and given us one of the most thrilling Championships for some time.
Williams F1 Team best pictures:
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN suffered heartbreak in Yas Marina as both Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Räikkönen were forced to retire from the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. On the last race for both drivers, technical failures caused their races to meet an early end when running just outside the points.
This disappointing evening brings our season to an end, with a total tally of 13 points to our name. As we pack up in Abu Dhabi, with the tail of a test on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, it is time to regroup and enjoy a break, before returning stronger for the 2022 season.
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
II’s been nice to see so many people showing their appreciation today, even if the race didn’t go as we hoped. We had an issue after the pit stop, a technical problem that meant we finished earlier today. That’s racing, sometimes things fail, but today’s result doesn’t influence how I feel about my career. I’m happy to move on to a normal life, I am looking forward to it. Of course, I will miss a lot of the great people I met over the years; 20 years have gone quickly, I made lots of memories, some good, some bad, and these are going to stay with me forever.
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
It’s a pity to end the season like this, the first DNF after a full season of finishing. We were having a good race, fighting a world champion like Vettel, but at least I could enjoy watching the final laps of this race. It’s been a great battle between Max and Lewis, both would have deserved the title. It’s been an emotional day overall, seeing Kimi retire and seeing all the things the team did for us today. He’s a great person, very fair and all of F1 will miss him. As for me, I hope this is just a ‘see you soon: my full focus is now on Formula E, but I hope to be back next year. I’m happy with my journey, the way I progressed over the years, I gave everything I could.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN:
Ending any race with two retirements is always disappointing, even more so when it’s the final one of the season. We really wanted to give our drivers a better send-off and finish the season with a good result. As we head into the off-season, we’ll need to take the positives from the year past and use them to build on them for 2022. We need to acknowledge that the step forward we made in performance this year was good, but unfortunately, the results didn’t back it up. We have let some big chances get by, we have made some mistakes and we didn’t really get everything we deserved. There is a lot of work to do in the winter but we are prepared for it and we can’t wait to see the results of all our efforts when we line up on the grid next year.
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN Team best pictures:
Uralkali Haas F1 Team driver Mick Schumacher classified 14th at the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Round 22 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Schumacher started from 19th on Pirelli P Zero Red soft tires and gained two places to move into the 17th spot. The German came into the pits on lap 10, exchanging his softs for a set of White hard tires, and settled into a rhythm. Schumacher took on soft tires during a late Safety Car period and came home 14th to complete his rookie season.
Nikita Mazepin was unable to participate in the season-ending race after returning a positive test for Covid-19. Mazepin is physically well but is isolating and adhering to the guidelines of the health authorities. Stewards accepted Uralkali Haas F1 Team’s request to withdraw the car from competition on force majeure grounds.
Uralkali Haas F1 Team concludes the 2021 Formula 1 season in 10th position in the Constructors’ Championship.
Uralkali Haas F1 Team will be back in action at the Yas Marina Circuit on Tuesday and Wednesday for the 18-inch Pirelli tire test, in which a mule car will be used. Schumacher will drive on Tuesday while reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi be in action on Wednesday. Ferrari Driver Academy member Robert Shwartzman will drive the VF-21 as part of the young driver test that will run in parallel on Wednesday.
Nikita Mazepin, Driver No. 9 (Haas F1 Team Statement)
Uralkali Haas F1 Team driver Nikita Mazepin has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Yas Marina Circuit ahead of Sunday’s 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The team, therefore, regrets to announce that Nikita will be unable to participate in the race.
Nikita is physically well, having been asymptomatic, but he will now self-isolate and adhere to the guidelines of the relevant public health authorities, with safety the ultimate priority for all parties concerned.
Uralkali Haas F1 Team wishes Nikita well and we look forward to his return to the race track in early 2022 for pre-season testing.
Mick Schumacher, Driver No. 47
We attempted a different strategy for most of the field which I think worked for us. We made the C3 last and that’s what we needed to do, and we were fighting with Latifi, so overall we can be happy with what we’ve achieved today. We have lots to work on and lots to look forward to next year.
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Uralkali Haas F1 Team
It was a very exciting final race of the championship, it was very good for Formula 1, and for us, it was the best race we did. Unfortunately, Nikita couldn’t take part after returning a positive COVID-19 test, but Mick did a fantastic job today. He fought all race long, we know our car is what it is, but cars that beat us all year ended up behind us, so very good to go into the winter season knowing that we are ready for a better season next year. We will work hard over the winter and come back stronger. Thanks to the whole team for holding up all season and putting their best into it and today it paid off – you just have to wait for your day.