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'Season curtain-closer flops again' - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix hot takes

'Season curtain-closer flops again' - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix hot takes

'Season curtain-closer flops again' - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix hot takes

'Season curtain-closer flops again' - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix hot takes

As the curtain came down on Formula 1 in 2023, Max Verstappen cruised to victory in what was a pretty uneventful race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

It was his 19th victory of the season, which extends his new record for the amount of wins in a single season, and caps off a year in which both the Dutchman and his Red Bull team have been supremely dominant.

Elsewhere, Mercedes managed to grab the title of 'best of the rest' in the constructors' championship, despite Charles Leclerc's best efforts.

Here are the GPFans team's takes on the main talking points from the season-ending race at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Max Verstappen claimed victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
George Russell's podium was enough to give Mercedes second spot in the constructors' championship

GPFans journalists on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Dan Ripley - Deputy Editor

Once again, Abu Dhabi flops hosting the final race of the season. The track layout has improved in recent years and overtaking has been made easier, but it's been 15 races at the circuit now and we are really yet to see a classic.

Granted, 2021 and 2016 produced unforgettable final laps (for different reasons of course), but overall they were not great events.

Pros? It has an advantage in having the wonderful visual spectacle of light giving way to darkness, but the real setting sun of an F1 campaign belongs at proven season-ending big hitters such as Suzuka, Interlagos and perhaps even in the distant past, Adelaide. Like an exciting title fight, they all seem a long time ago now.

Chris Deeley - Lead Editor

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the 2023 F1 season summed up in 58 laps.

One nominal backmarker picked up unexpected points. The ‘best of the rest’ had a tense podium fight. There was a baffling Ferrari strategy decision. A Ferrari and a Mercedes struggled for no apparent reason while their sister cars fought for high points finishes.

And, of course, Max Verstappen drove away from everyone to win in style. It wasn’t a classic race. It wasn’t a classic season. Roll on 2024.

Shay Rogers - Lead Researcher

Perhaps the most fitting end to the 2023 season came in the form of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Verstappen appeared wholly unchallenged, while cars squabbled behind without much real action.

I, for one, won’t miss this season for its lack of on track action, but Verstappen's campaign will go down in history as the most dominant ever.

Yuki Tsunoda was superb today on the unfavoured one stop strategy, and gave his team a real shot of beating Williams to seventh in the constructors’ championship.

Here’s to a more exciting 2024!

Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo have proved in recent races why their team have given them a contract for 2024
The 2021 Abu Dhabi provided a fantastic end to an almighty world championship battle

Cal Gaunt - F1 Journalist

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix provided nothing more than you'd expect, as Max Verstappen drove off into the distance leaving the rest of the pack to fight it out behind him. On the whole, the 2023 F1 season was a one-man show for the history books, with Verstappen and Red Bull triumphing so early they had time to organise a championship celebration before the rest of us could perform our now-regular disgruntled eye roll.

The best of the rest - Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren - can only hope to assemble a challenge that will rock Red Bull's dominance. Fans, though, crave a script that doesn't reveal the ending before the season has even begun.

My prayer for 2024 is that the challengers mix up an off-season potion powerful enough to dethrone Verstappen - but the threat of F1's scriptwriting gods recycling the same boring plot for the next season looms large. The paddock, and those watching on all over the world, await a twist that puts unpredictability back in the driver's seat.

Ronan Murphy - Social Media Editor

Do you ever wake up during the night humming a random song? A song so unescapable that it haunts your dreams? If the answer is yes, and you consider yourself a Formula 1 fan, then for you, like me, that song is probably the Dutch national anthem.

Nineteen times this season we heard it. NINETEEN. Even Dutch people probably don’t want to listen to it that often. And it’s their country’s song.

The best thing about the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the fact it was the last race of the year. Next season can not be as monotonous, as repetitive, as predictable, as disappointingly bland as 2023. Surely not?

Now I’m off to hum this again. I can’t help it. I’m sorry.

William of Nassau, scion of a German and ancient line, I dedicate undying faith to this land of mine. A prince I am, undaunted, of Orange, ever free, to the king of Spain I've granted a lifelong loyalty...

Sam Cook - F1 Journalist

It felt a little bit like 58 procession laps for Verstappen and the stunning job that he and his Red Bull team have done in 2023, with the Dutchman pulling further and further away from Charles Leclerc after a frantic start which gave some hope of an entertaining final race.

Verstappen will leave the Yas Marina Circuit in much calmer circumstances than he did two years ago, and that just sums up what must have been a boring season for even him.

He has now overtaken Sebastian Vettel for third on the all-time list of F1 race winners, a fantastic achievement.

Max Verstappen now has more career race victories than Sebastian Vettel

A word of credit for Mercedes beating Ferrari to second place, hopefully both of those teams will get their act together and provide us with a real championship battle next season.

Joe Ellis - Race Reporter

As much as people tried to hype up the battle for second in the constructors' or fourth in the drivers', I really couldn't care less. We all want a title battle and the last handful of races have all seemed to lack some kind of excitement to get you pumped before lights out.

Thankfully, 2023 is now over and out so we all have to cross our fingers and hope that someone, anyone, can put up a fight to Red Bull next season.

Given how little the driver market has moved for next year, get ready for three months of Andretti speculation before F1 heads back to the Middle East yet again for testing in Bahrain.

Matt Hobkinson - Lead Journalist and Editor

2023 is consigned to the history books and no matter what page you flick to, you’ll see a certain Dutchman smiling back at you.

Max Verstappen ended the season in Abu Dhabi as he began it in Bahrain, on the top step and hardly breaking a sweat as he dealt with one lap of discomfort before sailing off into the distance.

Mercedes wrapped up P2, albeit not without some clever tactics from Charles Leclerc to give the Silver Arrows a brief moment of panic. The Monegasque star must have wondered though why it was left to him to make the strategy call himself.

McLaren, although not on the podium, end the season appearing to be well-placed as the main challengers to Red Bull in 2024.

A lot of work will be done over the next 97 days - only time will tell if Red Bull’s vice-like grip on the sport can be broken.

Edward Hardy - F1 Journalist

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix summed up the 2023 season, with Max Verstappen easily taking victory and the real action being further down the field.

Rather than focusing on Verstappen’s 19th victory of the season, the more entertaining action for fans occurred between Mercedes and Ferrari.

Charles Leclerc’s last minute tactics to try and secure P2 in the constructors’ standing by sacrificing a podium position was a genius move, even if it failed.

READ MORE: Verstappen sees off early challenge before sealing CRUSHING Abu Dhabi GP win


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