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

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Vettel, Gasly, Alonso… Which Abu Dhabi GP for the 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 do not have a seat for next year, hope for their part that it was only a goodbye, even if their chances of bouncing back seem slim. As for Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly, they lived their last race with their current team, Alpine and Alpha Tauri. Here’s how the story ended for them.

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

His permanent good mood deserved him to end his career on a happy note and Daniel Ricciardo offered himself 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 in a reserve driver role.

Schumacher hung on

Thanked by Haas on Thursday morning, Mick Schumacher will try to relocate to bounce back his career in 2024. This Abu Dhabi GP will not necessarily plead in his favor since the German has especially distinguished himself by hitting the Williams of Nicholas Latifi from behind, as he attacked the Canadian for sixteenth place. Despite a 5” penalty for this fault, Schumacher ranks 16th, ahead of his teammate Kevin Magnussen.

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

Latifi still in the game

Last year, he was at the origin of the chaos of the end of the season by provoking by his crash the intervention of the safety car which had returned the duel Hamilton / Verstappen. This time again, Nicholas Latifi (27) is involved in the only collision of the Grand Prix, but despite himself and without neutralization of the race this time. Forced to return to the pits to repair his Williams, the Canadian left in last position and threw in the towel two laps from the finish due to an electrical problem. He is still ranked 19th.

Alonso, his routine at Alpine

Fernando Alonso’s adventure with Alpine ended with a mechanical retirement at the end of the 27th lap, when he was in tenth position. “It’s like the season, I must have had a dozen technical problems with my car this year”, summed up 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 that he has been overtaken by a teammate in a season since Button at Honda in 2015.

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

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