2022 Abu Dhabi Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: The new rules worked for on track action. It appeared there would be a two team battle royale, but that fizzled out. Nonetheless, next year is looking promising for just that and perhaps even a three team slugfest.
EVENT: Still not right to have Abu Dhabi as the season finale, even without any drama this year. Interlagos should be last.
TRACK: The new track configuration this time coupled with the new car specs enhanced the improvement over last year's improvement.
QUALIFYING: Things return to "normal" with Red Bull on the front row, Ferrari on the second row, Mercedes on the third row as each time the number one driver led their respective team. Vettel goes out in qualifying style and Magnussen goes from pole to Q1 elimination in one week.
RACE: It was an old fashioned pole to runaway victory, but there was more track action than expected along with some nice strategy pressure calls.
START: Perez gets a good start but plays it conservatively against his teammate, Hamilton gets by Sainz then gets forced off then does some bouncing, and Russell can't hold off Norris.
VERSTAPPEN: The record is now finalized -- 15 wins in one season. A dominating season for Max.
LECLERC: Through all the Ferrari cockups, it's easy to overlook the fact Charles finished second in the championship, his best ever and better than everyone else ... but one of course.
FERRARI: This time, their strategy worked ... barely ... to give Leclerc and the team second in the championship. However, it was way too little, way too late.
PEREZ: The crowd was certainly rooting for him.
RUSSELL: Nineteen out of the 22 races, George finished in the top five. A master of consistency.
HAMILTON: And thus ends the streak of at least one victory in every year he's competed in.
NORRIS: Give Lando a better car, because we will love to see him fight for wins with the other young stars.
RED BULL: Now they are releasing PR statements which are provably false. And they actually expect us to believe that excrement?
MERCEDES: Like fellow Austrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger, believe Toto when he says the Silver Arrows will be back next year.
VETTEL: He went from snot nosed villian to elderly statesman. Danke Seb.
RICCIARDO: What happened to Daniel's talent will be a great F1 mystery. His smile will still be in the paddock but his shoey will no longer be on the podium ... for now.
SCHUMACHER: If his surname was anything else, would their be any question whether Mick should still be in F1? Of course not.
LATIFI: Will Nicholas be the last of the true ride buyers (as long as a parent doesn't buy an entire team) with the way F1 financials and budget caps are now set up?
HULKENBERG: The super sub becomes the super returnee. It will be very interesting to see what Nico does next year.
F2: With the championship already decided, the only drama was whether American Logan Sargeant will get the necessary super license points. He played it conservatively and did. He'll now be the first American since Alexander Rossi and the first full time American since Scott Speed to compete in F1.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Farewell.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 299 -- The number of F1 starts Sebastian Vettel ends his career with.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Sebastian Vettel, "It has been an absolute joy throughout my career."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: After qualifying, while Max Verstappen was being interviewed, the crowd chanted, "PE-REZ! PE-REZ! PE-REZ! PE-REZ!"
SCHEDULE: Another longest season ever is coming up in 2023, and once again China will most likely be cancelled.
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