Controversy and drama surrounded the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Max Verstappen took the race and championship win for Red Bull in a dramatic climax. It was a fitting finished to a high octane season and one that will be talked about for many years to come.
The 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship drew to a close in the Abu Dhabi sunshine and the flag fell on the 2021 season beneath the circuit’s floodlights. It was George Russell’s 59th and final Grand Prix with the team following a three-year tenure as a Williams Racing driver.
The Yas Marina Circuit was designed by Hermann Tilke, and is dominated by a 1.2km-long straight between turns five and six, forming one of the longest acceleration stretches on the Formula One calendar. Recent renovations, including widening the hairpin at turn seven and eliminating the chicane on approach, along with a single sweeping banked turn replacing a series of 90-degree bends at the end of the second back straight, aim to increase overtaking opportunities and add to the event’s excitement.
For Oxfordshire based Williams Racing, both George Russell and Nicholas Latifi failed to finish, after starting 17th and 16th respectively in medium tyres.
What did the Williams Team say?
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance:
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 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.
We had a gearbox issue which 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 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.
|Track: Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi||Weather: Warm & dry conditions|
|Lap Length: 5.281 km / 3.281 miles||Temperature: Air: 23-25°C Track: 25-28°C|
|Pos||Driver||Team||Time/Gap (Fastest Lap)||Grid||Tyre Changes|
|1.||M. Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:30:17.345|
|1||3 (13, 36, 53)|
|2.||L. Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team||+ 2.256|
|3.||C. Sainz||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||+ 5.173|
|DNF||N. Latifi, FW43B-02||Williams Racing||DNF||16||1 (28)|
|DNF||G. Russell, FW43B-04||Williams Racing||DNF||17||–|
|28-Mar-21||Bahrain Grand Prix||Bahrain IC|
|18-Apr-21||Emilia Romagna Grand Prix||Imola|
|02-May-21||Portuguese Grand Prix||Algarve International Circuit|
|09-May-21||Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Catalunya|
|23-May-21||Monaco Grand Prix||Monte Carlo|
|06-Jun-21||Azerbaijan Grand Prix||Baku City Circuit|
|20-Jun-21||French Grand Prix||Circuit Paul Ricard|
|27-Jun-21||Styrian Grand Prix||Red Bull Ring|
|04-Jul-21||Austrian Grand Prix||Red Bull Ring|
|18-Jul-21||British Grand Prix||Silverstone|
|01-Aug-21||Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring|
|29-Aug-21||Belgian Grand Prix||Spa-Francorchamps|
|05-Sep-21||Dutch Grand Prix||Zandvoort|
|12-Sep-21||Italian Grand Prix||MonzaItalian|
|26-Sep-21||Russian Grand Prix||Sochi Autodrom|
|10-Oct-21||Turkish Grand Prix||Istanbul Park|
|24-Oct-21||USA Grand Prix||Circuit Of The Americas|
|07-Nov-21||Mexican Grand Prix||Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez|
|14-Nov-21||Brazilian Grand Prix||Autódromo José Carlos Pace|
|05-Dec-21||Qatar Grand Prix||Losail International Circuit|
|05-Dec-21||Saudi Arabia Grand Prix||Jeddah Street Circuit|
|12-Dec-21||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||Yas Marina Circuit|