|F1 Abu Dhabi GP| After the race:
Horner-Wolff in chorus: “Boring race”
Little Grand Finale
A flat race gives Verstappen a well-deserved victory. There’s going to be a lot of changes next year, but is it really going to change anything?
The last race of this unique (hopefully) 2020 would have at the same time nothing and everything to talk about. RedBull found dominance right in the final race, with Mercedes down in the final laps. On the contrary, both Verstappen’s and Albon’s cars do not show any sign of losing performance even in the last laps of the race. The depowered W11 (as we had guessed after qualifying and as Toto Wolff himself later confirmed) nothing could against a Verstappen who makes Hamilton the situation on an incredibly gentle RB16 on the tyres.
Mercedes track engineers manager Andrew Shovlin said:
“It is not entirely clear what happened, in relation to the MGU-K failures of Mercedes engines in the last two races. Not having detected a specific problem, we decided to use the power unit in safe mode, in the most conservative way possible to try to avoid the problem. We are talking about a minimal difference, not something that can determine the result of a race. It’s less than a tenth of a second per lap, something that doesn’t change positions.”
Hopes to see more battle for next year? Perhaps, or maybe not since Mercedes have abandoned w11 development since after the summer while Newey and his teammates have also brought updates to Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, however, congratulations to Verstappen, some missed opportunity, but otherwise for him it was a racing season with a level of driving to say the least stellar. The race, however, was terribly flat, and, if I may say so at the last of the season, the only reason that a circuit like Abu Dhabi is tolerable as a grand final of the world championship is only that you almost always get to the Emirate at titles already decided.
As for the performance of the other wonderful McLaren race teams, which hooks in extremis the third place in the manufacturers with a masterful pace of both drivers, and excellent race of Ricciardo, with a Renault that probably has good potential to extract. Further back we find a Stroll still anonymous that does not save the third place of Racing Point and, climbing almost to the bottom, a Ferrari that shows all its limits, both car and strategic. The decision not to stop the drivers during the Safety Car could have made sense to try something with Sebastian Vettel, who started with hard rubber, but difficult to understand on Leclerc.
Regardless, for Ferrari zero points and both dubbed, and a lot of desire to close the 2020 chapter and look forward.
Change everything so as not to change anything
One of the most curious things about 2021 is how many things will change, although on the performance front of changes we expect few. There’s going to be a reshuffle of drivers and teams that haven’t been seen in years. Ricciardo in McLaren, Sainz in Ferrari, Vettel in Aston Martin, Alonso in Alpine (with these two teams also changing their name). Not forgetting Mick Schumacher in Haas, who will simply be a rookie, but certainly bears a heavy surname. Yet, in the midst of all this, with various freezes there should not be who knows what revolutions in performance. Will that be the case? We will only find out in Melbourne, Covid permitting.
A farewell race for many drivers
- Vettel greets ‘Azzurro’ Adriano Celentano
Six years closed with a song. Sebastian Vettel brought a paper note with him in the cockpit and sang a modified version of Azzurro, Adriano Celentano’s famous single. A surprise dedicated to Ferrari and ferrari drivers, outside and inside the pits, which testifies how the German cared about the team and how much this 2020 of suffering cost him.
“Let me drive.” This radio team of Sebastian Vettel quoting Toto Cutugno has entered the history of the combination formed by the German and Ferrari. Today the four-time iridate wanted to greet at the end of the race this time with an interpretation of the Molleggiato Adriano Celentano taking up ‘Azzurro’. “I have a surprise”, the words of Vettel by radio who had prepared a note on which he reported his version of ‘Azzurro’ revisited to greet Ferrari, all the men of Maranello and the fans of the Prancing Horse at the end of six seasons however unforgettable.
Vettel to greetings: “I will miss you all”.
- Ricciardo: radioed with Renault
Daniel Ricciardo did not reach his former Red Bull boxing partner in terms of imagination and romance, but the match between the Australian driver and Renault was also sweeter than might have been expected. The 1989 class in this 2020 despite four races less has more than doubled the spoils of points going from 9th place in 2019 to fifth this year behind Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen and Perez.
In addition, at the Nurburgring and Imola Ricciardo gave two podiums that crowned a growth that did not culminate with a step forward in the constructors’ standings just because McLaren and Racing Point also worked decidedly well. The Woking team will be the next destination for Daniel Ricciardo, who yesterday, starting from the sixth row, invented a great race to greet Renault in a special way.
- Sainz sees red in sight 2021
Rarely in recent Formula 1 seasons, especially among the centre-back teams, has there been a better assorted combination than that composed of Carlos Sainz and McLaren. The Spaniard arrived in Woking after what looked like a relegation from Renault.
The duo Carlos Sainz–Lando Norris, able to have fun on the track and have fun outside, establishing a beautiful and rather unusual friendship at these levels dissolves in view of 2021.
The Spaniard will be a Ferrari driver from 2021. On a day of celebrations, Norris himself wanted to warmly greet – just passed under the checkered flag – the now former box mate:
“It has been a pleasure to spend the last two years with you – commented norris radio – thank you for these seasons, they have been a lot of fun. Thanks for teaching me a few things. I wish you the best of luck for your next stop, ‘cheers’ Carlos.”
- Magnussen to the last: “I am at peace with myself”
It was supposed to be a double goodbye, and instead it will be in half. Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosejan had intended to say goodbye to Formula 1 in the Abu Dhabi race, but the Bahrain incident prevented the Genevan from participating in the grand final. There will therefore only be the Danish driver, who will leave haas and move to the United States, precisely in the IMSA championship. So much emotion, of course, for this last presence in the Circus, to which K-Mag does not want to close the doors definitively. On the other hand, he is 28 years old, he is in the middle of maturity and he has proven to be a good-footed driver, especially at the start.
No penalties for Sainz, McLaren third
Ten points was a margin that seemed to be safe for Racing Point against McLaren. Instead, for the third sunday in a row the third place in the constructors’ standings changed master, obviously this time definitively given that the season is over. The team podium together with Mercedes and Red Bull was basically defined in the early stages of the abu dhabi grand prix.
Sergio Perez, forced to return from the bottom of the line-up for mounting new elements to the power unit that exceeded those allowed by the regulation, found himself forced to park his car after eight laps. A very mixed technical k.o., especially because the engine was precisely new. Without Checo, Racing Point found itself with only Lance Stroll on the track and the Canadian showed all his limitations by not going beyond tenth place.
McLaren has just officially announced the arrival of new investors, in addition to those already put in black and white regarding the return to Mercedes as supplier of power units and daniel Ricciardo’s landing in Woking. The third place in the constructors’ standings rewards a team that since 2019 has started a process of ascent in which few would bet. Now to do even better in 2021 the step is ambitious to say the least: mercedes and Red Bull remain to be beaten, not forgetting that Ferrari, Alpine and Aston Martin will certainly not stand by and watch.
“It was a difficult race in which the events were not favorable, Lance was evidently penalized by Sainz and Perez had to give up in the face of a technical problem. We were unable to capture a result that seemed within reach and would have been very important. We’ve had a lot of bad luck in this league, we’ve lost a lot of points in different episodes. We will try to convert this anger into a desire to come back even stronger in 2021. The base is excellent and we will be able to take advantage of the experience gained this season”
Zero laps in the lead for Ferrari
For the fifteenth time Ferrari ended the Formula 1 season without even a win. The team led by president John Elkann and headed to the track by Mattia Binotto did not complete a single km in the lead in 2020, as happened only in 1992 and 1973.
Yet Ferrari’s season had begun in February, at the Teatro Valli in Reggio Emilia, on the occasion of the presentation of the new SF1000, in a different spirit. A very suggestive presentation that promised a symphony of victories that were to accompany the race to the 2020 World Cup.
In these ten months Ferrari immediately lost its competitiveness, due to the well-known events related to the agreement reserved between FIA and Ferrari itself after the checks on its power unit. A lack of competitiveness evident since the Barcelona tests, and no longer recovered, also because of the rules relating to the freezing of power units. His season was illuminated only by some of Leclerc’s sprockets in qualifying and in the race. Sprazzi, however, have sometimes been accompanied also by excesses of zeal that have been hastily archived and forgiven, with the accomplice and bitter awareness that unfortunately there was little to lose.
The protagonists of maranelli’s dramatic work have left the scene silently and inexorably, overwhelmed by personal and professional facts. Lost immediately to Vettel due to a unilateral non-renewal of his contract, Sebastian gave way to his counterfigure, which he clapped all season, with the only flash of third place at the Turkey GP. A glow too faint to brighten his dark season like night.
“There is little to say, unfortunately, about today’s race: it is the disappointing conclusion of a disappointing season, we must turn the page and think about the future, not forgetting what we have learned in these very hard and difficult months. We have to go up the slope, working tirelessly on next year’s car to recover the performance deficit that separates us from the best”
The words of the driver: interviews after F1 Abu Dhabi 2020 GP.
Valtteri Bottas :
“Today they were too fast – admitted former driver Williams – and we couldn’t keep up with him. We expected the race pace to be quite steady, but they were able to control the pace and create gaps when needed. For my part it was a solid and error-free race and I think I extracted everything from our package. In that sense, it was a good race. I finished in front of my teammate and it’s nice to be back on the podium. I still have some commitments to make, then I’ll have some free time at Christmas, and then I’ll do a quick reset, a little training and start from scratch ahead of next year. I can’t wait.”
“I can’t wait for next year to see the steps forward that we’ve taken, because we’ve done it. Then we have to see how many we have made compared to the others. I would also like to thank Seb for everything he has done for the team. It will definitely help us for the future. Having him on the other side of the pits for two years was really nice, as a person and as a driver. Now let’s see next year, I hope for a more positive season”
“It was a really enjoyable race for me. Yesterday too, but today we have crowned the work with a very good start. We managed the tires, the machine and the balance. For me on the track today was really nice to drive, we did everything the right way. Once you start in front you can control the pace more and that makes your life easier. In the end I had a good lead over the pursuers, so I could handle it better. I wanted to enjoy the victory, the podium. Now I want to go home, I can’t wait.”
“If I’m emptied or relieved? Maybe both of you. Today it is better not to talk about the race. But the last six years have been very special to me. At first it was a dream, in the end it was a bit sad, but it went like this. I’m happy to take this next step, the Aston Martin, although I don’t want to think about it right away, we have plenty of time to think about this. I feel sorry for the team, I feel a great affection for me: I will all miss them. Now I’m happy to go home to my family. Let’s have Christmas together, then 2021 will come: I hope next year is better for everyone, without this fucking Covid. Today I have mixed feelings: I am both happy and sad. Now I want to go to the pits one last time, then I’ll go home and from January we can start working”.
“I’m sure we’ll start talking about the future this week, we’ve had an email exchange in the last few days where we’ve said we’ll talk about it again. I’m going to be here in the next couple of days. We hope to be able to conclude the negotiations, including by taking advantage of the next two weeks, before Christmas. It would be a nice gift for everyone.”
Race results. Our marks to the drivers.
C. Leclerc: Anonymous race highlighting SF1000 issues with questionable strategy . Final Mark: 5.5/10.
L. Hamilton: Not at his best and does not even try an attack on Bottas with the same engine limiting himself to the task. Final Mark: 6/10.
V. Bottas: He managed to stay ahead of Lewis all weekend, but got the pole blown and raced by Verstappen. Final Mark: 6.5/10.
S. Vettel: Finally for him it was the last race with a red tractor… Certainly an emotional race for him since it was his last race in red after 6 years and he leaves with the team “singing” a song in Italian. Nice gesture …. Final Mark: 7.5/10.
M. Verstappen: Weekend practically perfect for him, almost a grand chelem blown on the last lap by Ricciardo’s fast lap. Final Mark: 8/10.