To whom Undoubtedly the spectacle of the season, now two-time winner Max Verstappen ended with a crushing victory in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) on Sunday. Here, Charles Leclerc offered himself the honorary title of Formula 1 vice world champion. The Dutch won. A record 15th Grand Prix in 2022, but Red Bull failed to achieve their first ever double, Mexico’s Sergio Perez finishing 3 points behind Ferrari’s Monegasque.
After the final 58 laps of the year and some 306 kilometers at the Yas Marina circuit, F1 went into hibernation and one of its main players, German Sebastian Vettel (35) (2010-2013), four crowns on the clock, retired. anecdote after 10th place. Red Bull will have a warm winter despite tensions between its drivers in recent weeks and sanctions for overshooting the 2021 budget.
It’s a shame Hamilton, a seven-time champion, ends the season without a pole position or a win
“It’s amazing to win here again (for the third recovery in a row)
»Verstappen (25), who won for the 35th time in his career, smiled. “It was really nice to be successful in a year like this, I know it will be difficult to reproduce, but it is a good motivation to try to do the same next year. »
For others, the break must be diligent to hope for better in Bahrain from March 5, the first meeting of the 24-race 2023 edition. Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton (37) is having his first white season since 2007: the Englishman ends 2022 with a record 103 points from each, without a pole position or victory.
Mixed grapes for the French
Frenchman Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, future teammates at Alpine in 2023, ended a season with a disappointing balance sheet of first, 8th, second, 14th behind the wheel of the slow AlphaTauri.
If he failed to get a podium like he did in 2021 – let alone a win – Ocon (26) shone consistently, scoring points in sixteen races. “We developed very well during the season (…). “All the improvements we’ve made have been milestones.”, who announced his best result at the beginning of November was 4th place, disputed the rainy weather during the Japanese GP. In addition, Évreux (Eure) had fewer mechanical breakdowns than his native team-mate: he retired six times compared to the Spanish double world champion Fernando Alonso, who left Alpi in favor of Aston Martin in 2022.
Gasly’s fault (age 26) was not his individual performances, but his one-seater performances. “This year was more difficult than we wanted, more difficult than expected”, recognized the other Norman of the grid at the end of August. Sometimes it is the fault of a capricious car, and above all, it is far from last year’s performance level. The kid from Rouen (Seine-Maritime) can take comfort in seeing his Japanese partner Yuki Tsunoda trailing in the championship. The driver is now expected to form a 100% French team at Alpine next season with a former karting friend “To perform as quickly as possible, to push the team up, to fight for podiums, to have the maximum chance to be at the front”.
Max Verstappen, what do you remember after this dominant season?
“It’s been a great team effort, especially after a tough start to the year, I never would have imagined a turnaround like that from anyone in the team, but it’s really cool to do it. We have a lot of fun. Of course, we focus on performance, but we also need to enjoy the present moment and appreciate it. I think we have done it and we will do it again. We are already focused on next year. I know it’s hard to do better than that, but you should always strive for that goal. »
Do you think next year will be more complicated?
“I think it will definitely be tougher. Everyone understands the car better. And as time goes on, other teams will come closer. It was a very positive weekend from our side, so it’s certainly very promising for next year. But we also know that now, in the winter, we have to work really hard and try to find not only performance, but additional performance: we also need to understand the tires better, because next year the tires will change a bit. We will see how to solve all this. »
With the possible return of Ferrari and Mercedes, are you ready for a battle against Lewis Hamilton in 2021, especially in the marathon season of 24 Grands Prix in 2023?
“If we’re not ready for this, we might as well stop now, right?” I think we are all pilots and we love racing. Of course, it’s nice to have a season like last year’s, but it’s also nice to have this year’s season. Simply put, if every year was a year like 2021, it would be very difficult. But it doesn’t happen very often in Formula 1.”
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