Abu Dhabi 2019. Rate the Race and Driver of the weekend – Round 21
Rate the race: Mean reader score 5.23 Rated 17( 12)/21 races.
Well, this race scored a lowish 5.23, lower than the 6.0 from 2018 and was rated 17/21 compared to last year’s 12/21. Well, at least it wasn’t as low as the 2.62 from 2017 although it was higher than 2015’s 4.42.
Hamilton took pole for the first time since Germany and had it not been for Bottas requiring two new engines this weekend and starting from the back of the grid, Mercedes could have blocked out the front row (again). Instead, we had Verstappen on the front row, ahead of Leclerc (who didn’t manage to pass go in time to set a second flying lap in Q3) and Vettel on the second row, ahead of Albon in the second Red Bull.
We then had the Mclaren/Renault/Mclaren/Renault formation of Norris/Ricciardo/Sainz/Hulkenberg (who was on his (possibly) last ever race in F1, with Perez taking the final points place on the grid. Possibly the most interesting aspect of this race was the speculation all the way through the race as to whether the stewards would actually disqualify Leclerc for Ferrari not accurately declaring how much fuel he had on board (they didn’t- Ferrari were fined $50,000.00 instead).
Not a lot to report this race, really: Ferrari made a better fist of their second double-stacked pitstop than they did their first which saw Vettel in the pits stationary for about three times longer than Leclerc, DRS was broken for all cars for the first 18 or so laps, Verstappen had some kind of engine problem and Bottas cut a swathe through the backmarkers to (maybe) end up on the podium (but he didn’t because Leclerc wasn’t disqualified after all).
However, in the midfield, Sainz tipped Gasly into P6 for the Drivers championship by one point which he gained on the last lap by overtaking Hulkenberg to finish in the points.
Gasly’s job was not made easier in that respect by a first lap collision with Stroll and a VERY long pitstop. Perez, with, what he described as his best overtake of his career, made Norris feel like a terrible driver (he said he was ‘embarrassed’), which also happened on the last lap.
Driver of the Weekend: Lewis Hamilton, 58.15% of reader vote
For the fifth time this season, Lewis Hamilton has won our coveted Driver of The Weekend accolade (more than any other driver this season).
Not the only accolade Lewis picked up this weekend: he took pole position, led every lap of the race, won the race and drove the fastest lap. Well done Lewis!! That’s it for this season- I wonder how 2020 will develop? Only a hundred or so days to wait!
Farewell for now,
Looking forward to seeing Lewis break all the remaining records next year and to Ocon, Norris, Russell and Leclerc all being hugely successful.
Please, please let’s not have any more ‘rocking’ reports in 2020.