Mika Hakkinen, former racing driver and two-time world champion, summarized in his traditional column the results of the season that ended with Max Verstappen’s victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The last race was just perfect for Max, which once again underlines that he and the Red Bull team have performed well this season. Someone reminded me that in 1988 Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, speaking for McLaren, won 15 Grands Prix out of 16, and Max went it alone – it’s just fantastic!
It has both speed and consistency, and the RB18 has been fast all season. Once the team sorted out the technical issues that plagued them at the start of the year, things went incredibly well.
In my opinion, Charles Leclerc also had a great race, finishing second and becoming vice-champion at the end of the season. Sergio Perez gave it his all, but I still think Charles deserved second place at the end of the season.
He started nine times from pole, won three Grands Prix in the first half of the year, and then it looked like he could seriously compete with Max. Second place in the individual and team standings will certainly give Leclerc and everyone at Ferrari extra motivation, and next year they will claim victory in the championship.
The year was difficult for Mercedes, the last race brought some frustration to the team. George Russell was penalized and Lewis Hamilton retired due to a rare technical glitch for this team. Somehow it doesn’t even cross my mind that Lewis hasn’t had a single win this season – this has never happened to him since his World Cup debut in 2007.
But for some reason it seems to me that this should only add to his determination to recoup next year. One thing is certain: neither he nor Mercedes want a repeat of the 2022 season.
Sebastian Vettel retired and this was an important moment for him and for the whole of Formula 1. In his time he won four championship titles in great fashion together with Red Bull and I have no doubt that when he won in 2017 and 2018. he became vice-champion at the wheel of a Ferrari, although it was a period of Mercedes dominance this was also a real achievement.
It’s nice to see Daniel Ricciardo score points in his last race for McLaren, just like his teammate Lando Norris. Daniel is a good driver, but sometimes after a few years in Formula 1 it is important to take a break.
When I left Formula 1, Ron Dennis, my McLaren team principal, convinced me to call it a sabbatical, even though I knew I had no intention of returning. In my opinion, Daniel has a different mood, but after two difficult seasons he just needs to find motivation again. At the age of 33, he still has time for this.
And of course I am very happy for Valtteri Bottas, because he was invited to Alfa Romeo to share his experience with the team, and he has really delivered results. For small teams, it is extremely important to perform well in the first half of the season, because as the championship progresses, top teams always contribute to their competitiveness.
In the first nine races, Valtteri scored seven points, including a 5th place finish at Imola, and his top ten finishes in Mexico and Brazil were a great end to the season. As a result, Alfa Romeo was behind McLaren in the team standings, but ahead of Aston Martin, and this is a great achievement. I hope they do better next year.
Source: F1 News
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