Max Verstappen Wraps Up the 2020 F1 Season with a Win in Abu Dhabi


Verstappen finishes fourth in the final Formula One World Championship standings. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Michael Hernandez, Assistant Sports Editor

On Sunday, the 2020 F1 season ended in Abu Dhabi with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen winning the last race of the year, followed by the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. As mentioned in last week’s article, Hamilton had COVID-19 and was unable to race in Bahrain which led to George Russell driving in his seat while Jack Aitken took Russell’s seat in Williams. It seemed that it would be the case again in Abu Dhabi but 24 hours before the weekend started, it was announced that Hamilton would race, which sent Russell back to his Williams seat and sent Aiken to his reserve role. Another driver change was Romain Grosjean not racing in his Haas seat, which meant that Emerson Fittipaldi would race again. The biggest thing on the line was the battle for third place in the Constructors’ Championship. After last week’s crazy race, Racing Point was in third with 194 points and McLaren right behind in fourth with 186 points. This was also the last race for several of the drivers.

For the Saturday qualifying, the expectation was another Mercedes pole position, but there was a surprise pole position for Verstappen, his first since Brazil of last year. Bottas qualified second with Hamilton in third. McLaren’s Lando Norris qualified in fourth, which set him in a good place to help them secure third place from Racing Point. On the other hand, Racing Point’s Sergio Perez started last because of an engine change which resulted in a grid penalty. On Sunday when the lights went out, the top three got away without any problems. Verstappen’s teammate, who qualified in fifth, eventually got past Norris for fourth. It seemed that it would be a boring race.

However, on lap ten, Perez retired due to an engine problem which brought out the safety car and the entire grid together. The top four remained in their places and Verstappen eventually got a decent lead in front of Bottas. After that, the race remained uneventful. 55 laps later, the race was finally over. With Norris finishing in fifth and his teammate Carlos finishing in sixth, McLaren was able to get the points necessary for third in the standings since Racing Point had Perez retire and teammate Lance Stroll only scored one point in tenth.

With the season finally over, we now look forward to 2021. Some notable driver changes include Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel moving over to Racing Point which is being renamed Aston Martin. Sainz is moving from McLaren to Ferrari. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo is moving from Renault to McLaren and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso is coming back to the sport with Renault, which is being renamed Alpine. As for Albon and Red Bull, we still do not know if he will race with them. For now, all we can do is wait until March, when the F1 2021 season begins in Australia.