2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: End Of A Record-Breaking Season

The 2023 season concluded at the Yas Marina Circuit for the officially titled Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


By Ben Bush
Updated on March 14, 2024

Reviewed and checked by Mark Phelan

2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Max Versatppen

The 2023 season concluded at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday, 26th November 2023, marking a climactic conclusion to the 22-race season and a record-breaking 2023 Formula One World Championship.

In the final race of the season, Max Verstappen continued to showcase his season-long dominance, taking the checkered flag in a commanding win. Following closely in second place was Charles Leclerc, who delivered a strong performance, showing determination in the race to lift Ferrari up the Constructors’ standings in an attempt to beat rivals Mercedes.

The race also had significant implications for the team standings. Driving for Mercedes, George Russell secured a vital third place on the podium. The result went beyond his own race success; as his third-place finish was instrumental in propelling Mercedes to second ahead of Ferrari in the 2023 Constructors’ Championship standings.

2023 Championship battles

As the weekend approached, the standings in the Formula One world championships were record-breaking. Max Verstappen dominated the 2023 season, securing the 2023 Drivers’ Championship and accumulating a mind-boggling 549 points. This impressive tally placed him significantly ahead of his teammate, Sergio Pérez, who trailed him by a substantial margin of 276 points.

Further down the leaderboard, Lewis Hamilton trailed Pérez by 41 points. In a closely contested battle for positions, Hamilton managed to maintain the lead over fourth-place Carlos Sainz, who was tied on points with Fernando Alonso.

The team standings in the Constructors’ Championship were equally intriguing. Red Bull Racing led the pack with an impressive total of 822 points. This put them far ahead of their closest rivals, Mercedes, who trailed by 430 points. Just a whisker away from Mercedes, Ferrari held third with a mere four-point deficit.

Meanwhile, McLaren found themselves 104 points behind Ferrari but managed to stay ahead of Aston Martin, who were in fifth position, by a slender margin of 11 points.

With slender margins, the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix promised an exciting and dynamic weekend of racing, with teams and drivers vying for the final positions behind the year’s dominant Red Bull team.

What happened in the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?

Opening laps

As the race began, an intense battle unfolded from lights out. Charles Leclerc immediately pressured Max Verstappen, challenging for the lead as they roared into the first corner. Despite Leclerc’s aggressive start, Verstappen skillfully maintained his lead. Gradually, Verstappen widened the gap between himself and Leclerc, leaving Leclerc to fend off the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

Mid-race battles

Midway through the race, a strategic shift altered the flow of the race as nearly all the drivers who had started on medium tyres, except for Yuki Tsunoda, went for their first pit stop. Tsunoda momentarily took the lead before pitting on the 23rd lap, while George Russell held third place behind Leclerc.

Final laps

Drama ensued in the race’s thrilling final ten laps as Sergio Pérez engaged in a fierce battle with Lando Norris for fourth position. The intensity of their duel led to a collision, resulting in a five-second time penalty for Pérez.

While Leclerc secured a comfortable second place, the battle for third was heated. Russell, in third place, and Lewis Hamilton, having dropped back to ninth place, were working hard to keep Mercedes ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship by a narrow margin of three points. Carlos Sainz, in tenth at the time, faced a setback due to mandatory pit stop rules on tyres used; at the time, he had only used one tyre compound, causing him to drop out of the scoring positions.

2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Max Verstappen taking the win.

As the race neared its climax, Pérez managed to overtake Russell. However, Russell maintained a less than five-second gap, crucial for retaining third place after Pérez’s penalty was factored in. In a strategic move, Leclerc slowed down to provide Pérez with a slipstream, hoping to displace Russell from third. Despite these tactics, Russell held his position, finishing third post-Pérez’s penalty.

The race concluded with Verstappen, Leclerc, and Russell making the final podium of the year.

2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix post-race debrief

Russell’s third-place finish, combined with Hamilton’s ninth place and Sainz’s eighteenth, ensured Mercedes clinched second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Fernando Alonso’s seventh-place finish was significant, marking his first top-five finish in the Drivers’ Championship since his runner-up status in 2012 and 2013. Leclerc’s second place elevated him from seventh to fifth for the season, tying on points with Alonso but finishing below him due to tiebreaker rules. Sainz’s drop to eighteenth resulted in him falling from fourth to seventh in the drivers’ standings, his lowest since 2018.

Remarkably, Verstappen achieved a historic feat by becoming the first driver in F1 history to lead over 1,000 laps in a single season and the only one to complete every racing lap in the 2023 season.

The 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix also saw farewells and significant transitions within the F1 paddock. It was the final race for Franz Tost, the team principal of AlphaTauri. His tenure concluded at the race’s end, and Laurent Mekies succeeded him. It also marked a pivotal moment for the team, as it was the last race under the AlphaTauri name. The team was set to undergo a rebranding and would emerge as RB for the 2024 season.

The race also ended Alfa Romeo’s partnership with Sauber, paving the way for Sauber’s upcoming collaboration with Audi in 2026.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix also marked the end of an era for Haas F1 Team, with Guenther Steiner completing his tenure as team principal. He was to be replaced by Ayao Komatsu in 2024.

2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Race Results

1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing-Honda RBPT26
2Charles LeclercFerrari18
3George RussellMercedes15
4Sergio PérezRed Bull Racing-Honda RBPT12
5Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes10
6Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes8
7Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco-Mercedes6
8Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT4
9Lewis HamiltonMercedes2
10Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco-Mercedes1
11Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
12Esteban OconAlpine-Renault
13Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault
14Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes
15Nico HülkenbergHaas-Ferrari
16Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes
17Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari
18Carlos SainzFerrari
19Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari
20Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari

2023 Post-Race F1 Championship Standings

2023 Post-Race F1 Drivers’ Championship Standings

2023 Post-Race F1 Constructors’ Championship Standings

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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