During the final Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi, Max Verstappen successfully transformed his pole position into a triumphant win, marking his 19th victory in 22 races this year. This remarkable achievement underscores a stellar season for Verstappen and his Red Bull team.
Right from the start, Verstappen held off Charles Leclerc in the initial sprint and the first lap, establishing a solid lead that he steadily extended. He crossed the finish line with a comfortable margin, signalling the close of the 2023 season under Abu Dhabi lights.
Sergio Perez, also from Red Bull, initially finished second but a subsequent five-second penalty for an incident involving McLaren’s Lando Norris dropped him to fourth place in the final standings. This shift elevated Leclerc to second place and George Russell of Mercedes to third.
Max Verstappen – 1st
“It’s been an unforgettable season. It was emotional on the in-lap driving the RB19 for the last time, this car and Team has given me so much. I have to say a big thank you to everyone at Red Bull, we’ve had an incredible year. It will be hard to replicate a year like this but we always want to do better and to improve so let’s see what we can do next year. In the meantime, I think the whole Team and everyone in the paddock needs a rest and to spend some time with friends and family. It’s been a simply lovely year.”
Charles Leclerc – 2nd
“Today, I had a very good car and the strategy was the right one. I could have pushed hard for many laps on the Medium tyres and my second place was never in danger. Unfortunately, in the end, Checo’s (Perez) five second penalty cost us a lot. Towards the end I tried to help him to build a gap over George (Russell) so that he could wipe out the penalty and finish ahead of the Mercedes, which would have put us ahead of them in the classification. However, looking back at the season, we can say it has been positive. We started the year with a car that we could not push to the limit. We knew what the problem was, but it took a while to change things. From Japan onwards my Ferrari became a very different car, capable of very good results. Unfortunately, over the course of the year there were several occasions when we were in a strong position but left points on the table: I’m thinking of my retirement in Bahrain when I was third, or in Brazil, where I qualified on the front row but I never actually started the race. I hope that, over the winter, we will be able to put everything we have learned to good use in order to be competitive right from the start of next season. We want to give something back to our fans for all their continued support.”
George Russell – 3rd
“Today’s result means a huge amount and I’m really pleased we’ve secured P2 for the team. There are so many people back at the factory in Brackley and Brixworth, who have worked so hard to achieve this. It’s been a really challenging season for us. I’ve let the side down a couple of times this year so I’m pleased to bring it across the line today. It was really intense at the end and so close with Perez, his pace was just great. I thought Charles was going to back me up but respect to him for keeping it clean. I’m happy to end the season this way with a podium.”
Sergio Perez – 4th
“Overall, we had a good race today. I think I could have maybe stretched it to a one stop, it’s something to look at and review. It probably would have been possible, but we will never know! My honest opinion is it was just a racing incident with Lando but unfortunately, the stewards didn’t agree with that and I got the penalty and lost second place in the final race of the season. I have learnt this season to never give up, we have had some tough times, ups and downs but it only matters where you finish when the season ends here. I am happy with the whole Team, they have done a tremendous job and we deserved a lot more today and at times this season. We have had the best season in our history and so much credit to Max, he has been outstanding. Next year we have another chance and we go for it.”
Lando Norris – 5th
“Tough race! Not the pace that we wanted but we did what we could to score important points to finish the season. We lost out a position in the pit stop so a little bit of a shame, but otherwise I think I did what I could, we were just not quite strong enough today.
“Overall, we can be happy with how everything has gone because we’ve done what we needed to do as a team by securing P4 in the Constructors’ Championship. We have had plenty of ups from the start of the season, the last few months have been great for the team, and we’ll take that momentum into the winter to come back stronger next year.
“Thank you to all the team at track and back at MTC who have worked hard this season to give us a car which is able to compete towards the front of the grid. We have made some memories this year and I’m looking forward to pushing on together in 2024.”
Oscar Piastri – 6th
“It was a slightly tricky day today, but P4 in the Constructors’ is still a very good effort.
“We know we want to aim for more than that next year, but I’ve enjoyed my first year of F1 a hell of a lot. There’s been some great highlights, some trickier moments but it’s all part of the experience. I’m looking forward to some time off now.
“Thank you to the team trackside and in Woking, thank you to all the fans for sticking with us on our rollercoaster this year and we’ll be back fighting for more next year.”
Fernando Alonso – 7th
“If you’d told me before this weekend that I’d finish fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, I wouldn’t have believed you – so this is a real gift.
“I’m really pleased with the way I’ve driven all season – I think this has been my best, most consistent season of driving since 2012.
“I think I got the maximum from the car all season. The whole Aston Martin team has worked incredibly hard and I am already looking forward to going into the winter and starting work for next season.
“We started this year as an underdog, but we’ll start 2024 very much in the spotlight; we need to be ready for that.
“Finally, a big thank-you and well-done to everybody on the team – this year has far exceeded all our wildest expectations and every single person should be proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Yuki Tsunoda – 8th
“Thanks to everyone for voting me Driver of the Day. It was a tough race. At one point, I thought we could finish in the top six. It didn’t work, but we don’t regret staying out and trying the one-stop strategy. I gave it my all, and I’m happy with myself. It was an enjoyable season overall. We struggled with car performance at the start, but we were able to step it up throughout the season. Although we didn’t achieve P7 in the Constructors’ Championship, we improved from P10 to P8 in the final part of the season, all thanks to the team in Bicester and Faenza. At the same time, there were a couple of mistakes I made that cost us, especially in Mexico. Well done to Williams. They deserve it, and I enjoyed the battle we had. Thank you to Franz. I enjoyed the last three years, and I will definitely miss him. Without his advice on how to improve, I wouldn’t have been able to progress as much in my Formula 1 career. I appreciate him, and I know we’ll keep in touch.”
Lewis Hamilton – 9th
“I’m happy for the team that we’ve managed to secure P2 in the Constructor’s Championship, it was a great effort by the team at track and both in Brackley and Brixworth. But we’re not where we want to be yet, we want to be competing for the championship and race wins and this weekend showed that we need to dig deep and work hard during the winter to get back to where we want to be and come back stronger next year. I hope everyone at the factory is happy with the result today and I’m grateful for all the hard work the team has put into this season, it’s been a long and tough year for us.”
Lance Stroll – 10th
“We elected to start the race on the Hard tyre and put in a long stint hoping for a Safety Car and a quick stop, but it didn’t play out like that, so we ended up running a two-stop strategy.
“Nevertheless, I think we were attacking well today and making progress throughout the field.
“We do tend to have better pace on a Sunday, and that was definitely the case today.
“I’m pleased that we finished 2023 with some stronger performances that we can be proud of. It’s definitely been a year of learning – we’ve had ups and downs – but we’re in a good place heading into next year.”