Vettel, Gasly, Alonso… Which Abu Dhabi GP for starters?

This Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the last of the 2022 season, was special for six drivers. Sebastian Vettel said goodbye to F1. Mick Schumacher, Nicholas Latifi and Daniel Ricciardo, who don’t have a seat for next year, are hoping for their part that it was just a farewell, even if their chances of recovering look slim. As for Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly, they experienced their last race with their current team, Alpine and Alpha Tauri. That’s how the story ended for them.

Sebastian Vettel ended his season as he started it at the 2007 US GP for BMW: picking up one point. An eighth place at the time, a tenth on Sunday, while his teammate Lance Stroll finished eighth. The German’s final counter scores 3098 points: 1577 with Red Bull, 1400 with Ferrari, 80 with Aston Martin, 40 with Toro Rosso and then 1 with BMW. In fourth place after 19 laps, Vettel didn’t take advantage of his one-stop strategy. “I would have liked to finish scoring more points, but I still had fun”he has declared.

His permanent good humor deserved him to end his career on a happy note and Daniel Ricciardo provided himself with this happy ending by taking ninth place and entering the points for the eighth time this season. This result, combined with Lando Norris’ sixth place, was not enough for McLaren to regain fourth place in the championship from Alpine (173 points against 159). The Australian is expected to return to Red Bull next year as a reserve driver.

Schumacher resisted

Thanked by Haas on Thursday morning, Mick Schumacher will try to move to relaunch his career in 2024. This Abu Dhabi GP will not necessarily be in his favor as the German distinguished himself above all by hitting Nicholas Latifi’s Williams from behind, as he attacked the Canadian for sixteenth place. Despite a 5” penalty for this foul, Schumacher finished 16th, ahead of his teammate Kevin Magnussen.

At the origin of a clash with Latifi, Schumacher is 16th. (EXPA/Hasan Bratic)

Latifi still in the game

Last year he was at the origin of the chaos at the end of the season causing with his crash the intervention of the safety car which had returned the Hamilton/Verstappen duel. Also this time Nicholas Latifi (27) is involved in the only collision of the Grand Prix, but this time against his will and without neutralizing the race. Forced to return to the pits to repair his Williams, the Canadian started from last position and gave up two laps from the finish due to an electrical problem. He is still in 19th place.

Alonso, his routine at Alpine

Fernando Alonso’s adventure with Alpine ended with a mechanical retirement at the end of lap 27, when he was in tenth position. “It’s like the season, I must have had a dozen technical problems with my car this year”, rehired the 41-year-old Spaniard, who will replace Vettel at Aston Martin. The Spaniard finished ninth in the championship, 11 points behind Ocon who finished seventh on Sunday. It is the first time he has been passed by a teammate in a season since Button at Mc-Laren-Honda in 2015.

Love stories end badly, in general. Pierre Gasly, who with his team from Faenza will have enjoyed all the honors (first GP in 2017, first podium in 2019 and first victory in 2020) would “preferred to end in a better way” than on this anonymous 14th place. “Today was very complicated, like the season”, summed up the one who will wear the Alpine colors on Tuesday during the Abu Dhabi tests.

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