The Covid-19-interrupted 2020 Formula One World Championship came to an end on Sunday with the final of 17 rounds, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, taking place under lights at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen ended the season on a high by winning the race in dominant style. Mercedes-Benz AMG's Valtteri Bottas finished second, close to 16 seconds behind Verstappen, while fellow Mercedes driver and 2020 champion Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top three, finishing just over 18 seconds behind the winner.
Hamilton made his return behind the wheel after skipping last week's round in Bahrain due to his recovery after contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus. Following the race in Abu Dhabi, he revealed that he's not yet 100% recovered, stating that he's looking forward to “recovering over the winter and getting back into training.” He will also be keen to help put the finishing touches on the AMG One hypercar, which he is helping to develop.
Verstappen started the race on pole for the first time this season and remained in the lead throughout. Bottas and Hamilton were close behind but then Verstappen started to build up his lead. Meanwhile, fellow Red Bull driver Alexander Albon remained in fourth position, putting the heat on the Mercedes drivers ahead at some points, though in the end he just didn't have the pace and had to settle for fourth place.
2020 Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Rounding out the top five was McLaren's Lando Norris who, together with Carlos Sainz, helped to secure third place for McLaren in the Constructors' Championship away from Racing Point. It didn't help that Racing Point's Sergio Perez had to retire on lap 10 due to transmission trouble. First and second places in the championship were already claimed by Mercedes and Red Bull, respectively.
The 2020 season ends with Lewis Hamilton topping the Drivers' Championship with 347 points. Bottas finished second with 223 points and Verstappen finished third with 214 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes finished the season with 573 points versus the 319 of Red Bull and 202 of McLaren.
Teams now take a deserved break before the start of winter testing for the 2021 season, scheduled for next February in Spain. The 2021 season is slated to hold a record 23 rounds, including a new round in Saudi Arabia, the return of the Dutch Grand Prix, and possibly a new round in Vietnam. The first race will be the Australian Grand Prix on March 21.
There will be quite a few shakeups, with Fernando Alonso set to return to Renault which will be rebranded Alpine, Sebastian Vettel set to replace Sergio Perez at Racing Point which will be rebranded Aston Martin, Carlos Sainz set to replace Vettel at Ferrari, Daniel Ricciardo set to replace Sainz at McLaren, and Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher set to replace Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen at Haas.
2020 Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Below are the full results from the 2020 Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
2) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz AMG +15.976 seconds
3) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG +18.415 seconds
4) Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing +19.987 seconds
5) Lando Norris, McLaren +60.729 seconds
6) Carlos Sainz, McLaren +65.662 seconds
7) Daniel Ricciardo, Renault +73.748 seconds
8) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri +89.718 seconds
9) Esteban Ocon, Renault +101.069 seconds
10) Lance Stroll, Racing Point +102.738 seconds
11) Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri +1 lap
12) Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
13) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +1 lap
14) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari +1 lap
15) George Russell, Williams +1 lap
16) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
17) Nicholas Latifi, Williams +1 lap
18) Kevin Magnussen, Haas +1 lap
19) Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas +2 laps
NC) Sergio Perez, Racing Point DNF