What the teams said – Race day in Abu Dhabi
Pole here has proved decisive for the last five races, so Verstappen was always looking well placed – and so it proved. A good start was all he needed to disappear into the distance, and when the Virtual Safety Car was announced, that gifted him a worry-free pit stop. On the same age tyres as his rivals, he could manage the race in clean air and came home for his second win of the season. As for Albon, he managed to pick off Norris and kept Hamilton honest ahead but ran out of time to challenge for the podium.
Max Verstappen, 1st
“It has been a very enjoyable two days which we didn’t really expect coming into the weekend. Being on pole was already great but to win here is a perfect end to the season for us all. The tyre management was good and the car had a nice balance which made it very enjoyable to drive. I expected a very tough fight today but I think we managed everything very well and there was never really a moment where I felt under pressure which is a pretty good feeling. To finish the year off like this I’m of course very happy with and I just hope we can start next season competitively, so we can be there right from the start, as we want to be able to try and fight for the championship but for that we need to start strong. Everyone in the Team and at Honda has worked so hard the whole year to improve the car and this is a really good boost going into the winter and I hope everyone gets to celebrate tonight.”
Alex Albon, 4th
“I’m happy and I think if the race was a couple of laps longer I’d be even happier as I feel we could’ve got past Lewis and taken another podium today. I was managing my tyres at the beginning of the stint and maybe I was too conservative as I had lots of life left in them at the end of the race whilst everyone else’s were starting to drop off. But overall it’s a great result for the Team today and I’m happy with my race. I’ve felt very good with the car this weekend and it’s probably been my best in F1. There was obviously a lot of pressure coming into this race and my only goal was to focus on my performance and do the best job possible so I’m proud of how I’ve delivered under the circumstances. It feels great to prove to everyone that I’m strong enough mentally to deal with all the external talk and keep improving. As a Team we haven’t given up, I’ve had a lot of support from everyone back at the factory and we’ve worked hard with the engineers to make me more comfortable in the car. Now I’m just looking forward to going home and relaxing with my family."
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“A win was the best possible way to sign off the 2020 season in what has been a challenging and disrupted year. To beat Mercedes fair and square from pole position, the first time Mercedes have been beaten at this circuit since 2013 when we last won with Vettel, is a phenomenal performance. Max has been supreme all weekend, delivering the perfect qualifying lap which he was able to convert into his 10th win today. Alex had arguably one of his strongest race weekends of the year to finish fourth just behind Lewis and collectively this was a very strong Team performance at this venue. All credit to Honda for being the only engine manufacturer not to incur any penalties this year and on achieving a second win with us this season. A big thank you must also go to all the staff in Milton Keynes who have worked tirelessly in difficult circumstances this year to keep developing the RB16 and ensuring we kept the momentum going throughout the season. This is also a fitting way to end our title partnership with Aston Martin and we look forward to seeing them back in the paddock next year. It’s been a rollercoaster season and once the test finishes on Tuesday I hope that everyone can enjoy a well-deserved break.”
They were off the pace yesterday, but on the favoured medium tyres could they take the fight to Red Bull? Sadly for Mercedes, the answer was no. Once Verstappen streaked ahead at the start, neither Mercedes driver could stay in touch. The good news is that they were comfortably ahead of the rest and a double podium to finish isn’t a bad result. It might have been a quiet ending to their season but the record-breaking heroics remain, and they were so dominant at the start of 2020 that both championships were wrapped up long ago. The best news for the team today was the return of Hamilton, back where he belongs and fit and healthy enough to complete a full race distance.
Valtteri Bottas, 2nd
"Congratulations to Max and Red Bull on the win. They were just too quick today and we couldn't quite keep up with them. We expected the race pace to be quite equal heading into today, but they were able to really control the pace and build the gap when they needed to. From my side, though, it was a solid race with no mistakes and I think I extracted everything from our package. So, in that sense, it's been a good race, I finished ahead of my team-mate and it's nice to be back on the podium. A huge thank you and well done to the entire team on an amazing year. I'm really proud we could end the season with P1 and P2 in the Drivers' Championship; every single team member has done such an incredible job, so thank you very much. I still have a few commitments to do but then I'll have some time off over Christmas, and then a quick reset, some training and we start from zero again for next year. I'm looking forward to it."
Lewis Hamilton, 3rd
"Considering the past couple of weeks, I'm really happy with the weekend and to finish on the podium. Obviously, it's not as good as I'd have liked, but congratulations to Max and Red Bull, they were very quick today and deserved the win. This weekend they were just too far out of reach for us and we couldn't hold onto the pace they had. It was fantastic to see Alex right up there with us, too. From my side, that was a hard race, so I'm definitely glad that it's over. But on the bright side I made it through, and I didn't think last week that I'd even be here. So, I'm just grateful for my health and looking forward to recovering over the winter and getting back into training, to get my body back to where it should be. Finally, a huge thank you to the team for their continued support and hard work. They've done a great job all season long and it's fantastic to end the season with two podiums."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"First of all, congratulations to Max and Red Bull; they were worthy winners today and the quickest combination this evening. Our drivers struggled with understeer all the way though the race, and we were losing a lot of time through Turns 5, 6 and 7 - and then in the final sector as well. We had strong performance on Friday, but then couldn't carry it through to qualifying or this evening; but as always, we will unpick the learnings and there will be good lessons in there to make us stronger next year. On track today, the positive was the performance from the drivers. Valtteri has had a tough few weekends, but he came back strongly here and got everything out of the car; I think maybe we have unlocked something for the future across this weekend, too. As for Lewis, we saw all his bravery and tenacity: to be back in the car less than two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19 proved his commitment to the team and the strength of his competitive desire.
"The final race is also the right moment to take a step back and look at the season as a whole. Congratulations to everybody who has been involved in delivering a seventeen-race season that nobody would have thought possible just six months ago. For us at Mercedes, it has been a year of remarkable success and achievements that will live long in our memories; thank you to each and every team member who has contributed to an historic season. Although we have a break from racing for the next three months, our factories are working flat out on the new car and power unit, as well as preparing for the challenges of 2021. It will be a busy winter - and we are excited about the challenges ahead of us."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"Well done to Max and Red Bull, they didn't let us get into the race this evening. He drove a very controlled race, they had the best car and deserved the win. To be honest, we'd expected a bit more from ourselves today; we thought we'd either have a small advantage on pace or be a bit better on degradation, but we didn't and it was a bit disappointing after a year where we have been strong at almost every track. However, whilst today wasn't the result we'd hoped for, we can reflect on the season as a whole and the team has done a great job, the drivers have done a great job and we've broken some records that we can be very proud of."
Norris made an electric start and did well to hold off Albon through the early stages. Once the Red Bull man had made his way past, the youngster drove a faultless race to come home as ‘best of the rest’. Sainz made his way up through the field as well to come home just behind his team mate. But he was investigated post-race for driving unnecessarily slowly in the pit lane. But once the stewards decided there was no case to answer, McLaren had the honour of the confirmation of finishing a brilliant third in the constructors’.
Carlos Sainz, 6th
“A great day for the whole team. I think we managed to put together a very strong weekend from the beginning to the end. We managed to remain focused, solid and bring home this P3 in the championship with a very well-executed race from everyone.
“From my side, it wasn’t the most exciting race. I kept it clean, I made a couple of moves in the middle of the race and managed to finish back in P6, so happy with that. I’m also very happy with finishing P6 in the Championship for the second time with McLaren. I think the last seven, eight races of the year, where things went a bit more our way, I was able to show the pace that we’ve had all season. For me it just shows that, whatever happens, you need to keep pushing and believing in what you are doing.
“I cannot be more grateful to each and every member of the team for these two great years, both at the racetrack and back at the factory. I take with me the best of memories. It’s been an honour to help the team as much as I could and get McLaren closer to where it belongs. I look forward to battling you guys next year! All the best.”
Lando Norris, 5th
“Pretty much the perfect day today! I had a good start and we just did everything we needed to do as a team. We executed it perfectly, the Safety Car and the pit-stops, and managed the tyres really well. P3 with the team is awesome and the perfect way to end this season, I couldn’t be happier!
“Thanks to the boys and girls at McLaren for all their hard work throughout the season, you’ve done an incredible job all year and this result is for you. And finally, best of luck to Carlos for the future. I’m looking forward to battling him again on track next year, and maybe at the golf course too.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“We did it! P3 in the Constructors’ Championship. Congratulations and well done to the entire team, here in Abu Dhabi and back home at the MTC. Together with our drivers and our colleagues from Renault, they coped very well with the pressure to deliver a clean weekend and an excellent performance that helped us outscore our competitors. What an outstanding result at the end of a very challenging and difficult season.
“I’m very proud to be a member of the McLaren F1 team today. We asked a lot from our people this year, but amid the pandemic and a great deal of uncertainty everyone stayed focused on the job in hand. The team back home developed the car throughout the season with continuous updates from the factory, and at the track we kept improving the execution of our race weekends.
“Looking ahead, our results this season, together with our financial news today, provide a stable foundation on which we can build towards the goal of getting back to the front of Formula 1. At the same time, we’re realistic about where we stand and will continue on our journey. We’ve had a lot of assistance this year: the support of our fans and our partners has been crucial, as has the work done by the FIA and Formula 1 to ensure we could have a full, safe season. We thank them all. I’d also like to offer a special note of appreciation to our drivers, who both did a superb job this year. We’re looking forward to having Lando onboard for the future, and Carlos leaves with our best wishes for his next chapter in Formula 1. Also, a special thanks to Renault for their great support over the last three years.”
The team split their strategy, starting Ricciardo on the hards and Ocon on the mediums. The Aussie was able to run the longest first stint of anyone and it worked out as he came home in the points, with fastest lap to boot. Ocon, though, was stuck in traffic having pitted at the same time as everyone else, but he did well to pressurise Stroll and ultimately get past the Canadian on the last lap.
Daniel Ricciardo, 7th
“Considering we started eleventh I’m really satisfied with seventh position tonight. My stint on the Hard tyres at the beginning was really strong and the car felt good the whole time. The Safety Car changed things slightly, but we couldn’t progress fast enough to catch the cars ahead. I know we didn’t manage to finish third in the Constructors’ Championship but, overall, it’s been a strong season for the team and compared to last year it’s a great step forward. My last lap in the car was the fastest on track and I was pushing hard for that. Very nice! Merci beaucoup to the team for an awesome two years!”
Esteban Ocon, 9th
“It was a challenging race for us today, but I was happy with how it ended with the last lap overtake on Lance [Stroll]. We fought to the end and we can be pleased with that. We have some things to review, it wasn’t an easy first stint and we got stuck behind some cars. Towards the end, though, the car came alive and that was very fun. I think today’s race actually tells the story about our year: we didn’t start so great, but we ended it very well! We know the areas we can improve. A big thanks to everyone at the team and at the factories in Enstone and Viry for their hard work this season and also thanks for Daniel as my team-mate this year. I wish him the best for his next journey.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
“Despite being strong, today’s race could not overturn an adverse championship situation and a poor qualifying yesterday. We were quick in practice and picked up the fastest lap in the race, but today’s overall performance is probably the best we could do given our starting positions. We managed to make a reverse strategy work with Daniel. He drove brilliantly in his first stint on Hards, going long and then waiting to see if a safety car could occur. It didn’t happen but he ended up gaining four positions and the fastest lap, more than any other driver. Esteban had a more conventional race and struggled a bit with the Mediums, but he made us very proud by overtaking Stroll on the last lap. That fighting spirit, in which we gained three points in one lap, is what I want to take away from the weekend, and on which we should continue to build the team. Despite today’s effort, we finish P5, which is disappointing given where we were only a few races ago, but there are solid foundations to build on. We have a number of details in the execution that need to be improved ahead of next year, while the overall car performance needs to make another step like the one we have done this year. For now the race team will take a very well deserved break after Tuesday’s test, and I would like to thank them a lot for the discipline and the commitment they have shown dealing with the guidelines, which often meant some personal sacrifices. Hopefully next year will be a step closer to normality. Congratulations also to McLaren. They were P9 when we started our journey together. They finish P3. We are proud of having directly contributed to their rebirth.”
Both cars were running in the top 10 for much of the race, but it was not to be for Kvyat in what could be his final race for the team. He lost out to Stroll at the start and to his team mate after a handful of laps, and then lost further time in the pits when the team opted to double stack their drivers. Gasly though managed a few decisive overtakes, not least the move on the Russian to fight his way up to eighth. Ten points finishes this year is a good return from the Frenchman.
Pierre Gasly, 8th
“I’m very happy to finish P8 today. It’s been an intense race, with a lot of overtakes and quite a few battles on track. In general, it hasn’t been an easy weekend and I didn’t feel that good in the car, but I managed to make it count in the race when it really mattered. I’m really pleased to give the team a few more points before going into the winter break and I’m glad we made the best out of the last one here in Abu Dhabi. I would like to say a big thanks to the whole team for this season. It has been a real pleasure to work with everyone, I think we took a big step forward in all areas and we're really taking the fight in the midfield battles. Now we have a bit of time to enjoy the great things we achieved together this year and our first great win together. We’ll fully recharge the battery for next season to come back even stronger and try to achieve even better performances.”
Daniil Kvyat, 11th
“It’s frustrating as I would have wanted to finish the season with a better result, but unfortunately today I got stuck in a train behind Vettel and that cost a lot of time. I think the key point of the race was during the first stint: on the Soft tyres we expected the degradation to be on the rear but, instead, we finished the front tyres and when you have understeer you’re a sitting duck. I lost a couple of positions to some key cars before the virtual safety car which put me on the back foot. It’s a shame to finish just outside of the points as the pace was there, but recovering from the first stint was very hard. The season as a whole was alright, we had some really good races, and others where we should have scored more points, but for one reason or another, it didn’t happen. This is how things go sometimes, but I would like to thank everyone in the team for another intense season together.”
Jody Egginton, Technical Director
“As expected, tonight's race has been quite tight in the midfield. The virtual safety car provided an opportunity to get onto the base tyre and push to the end of the race, allowing us to score with one car and get very close with the other. Pierre’s race was quite aggressive with some good moves to make up positions against cars which did not stop under the VSC, but unfortunately, Daniil was not able to get free of traffic, spending most of his race in a fight with Ocon and Stroll, which limited his chances to move forwards. Overall, this was an incredibly busy and intense season for the teams, both trackside and in Faenza and Bicester, so hopefully, we’ll be able to take a bit of time off over Christmas to recharge before we start again in 2021.”
Franz Tost, Team Principal
“First of all, congratulations to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen, and Honda for their fantastic victory, this was a very strong performance from their side. Regarding our team, both cars had a successful Qualifying making it to Q3 yesterday, so we started the race with Daniil in P7 and Pierre in P9. While this was a good result, it meant we were at a bit of a disadvantage as we had to start the race on the Option tyre. The virtual safety car was brought out on lap 10, followed by a full safety car and we called Pierre and Daniil in for a double stack at that time to change both onto the Base compound, which they ran until the end of the race. After the Safety Car, both drivers started to fight for positions, with Pierre managing to overtake Leclerc, Stroll and Vettel to finish in eighth position. Daniil got stuck in traffic and ended the race just outside the points in P11. This weekend the race pace was not at the level we expected, but in general Scuderia AlphaTauri had a fantastic season this year, we were strong and competitive, achieving 107 points in the Constructors’ Championship, which is the highest number we’ve ever scored in our Formula 1 history. It was a big success for the team, so a big thank you to everyone in the team, both in Italy and in the UK. Thank you also to our Japanese friends at Honda as they provided us with a very strong and reliable power unit. I also want to thank our drivers Pierre and Daniil, as their experience helped elevate us to a higher and more competitive level.”
Perez was always going to have a tough evening starting from the back, but he wouldn’t have predicted his final race for the team would end in retirement. It was a sad way to see a glittering career at Racing Point brought to a close, but if he can forget this one and remember Sakhir, he won’t be too disheartened. That left Stroll with the task of holding off McLaren in the constructors’ championship but the Canadian could only manage P10 at the flag after being pipped by Ocon on the final lap.
Sergio Perez, DNF
“I’m really sad that my final race with the team ended so early and with a repeat of the engine problem we had in Bahrain. I really wanted to sign off with a strong race for everyone in the team. I hope people remember winning the Sakhir Grand Prix instead of this weekend! Looking at the bigger picture, it’s a real shame to have retired because we needed to get both cars into the points today to take P3 in the Constructors’ Championship. Congratulations to McLaren, but I think we can still be very proud of our season. We won a race, took podiums and were just so unlucky in some situations – especially with both drivers having to miss races. On my side, I’m delighted that we were able to get P4 in the Drivers’ Championship. This season has been really special, but I’m ready for a break now and I’m very much looking forward to the future.”
Lance Stroll, 10th
“That was a tough race today and we were on the backfoot once Checo had to retire through no fault of our own. It then caused a safety car, which I’m not totally sure was the right decision, and then there was the incident with Sainz holding me up in the pitlane. That cost us time, but we still struggled at times in the race. There were moments when our pace was strong, but it wasn’t consistent enough. The tyre life and temperature also dropped off significantly at the end, which cost us a place to Esteban [Ocon]. We need to look into why that was the case. It’s a shame that we weren’t able to take P3 in the Constructors’ Championship because I think everyone in the team deserved it for all their hard work. We’ve had some real highs this year and there’s been missed opportunities too – so there’s plenty to reflect on and improve in the future. It’s disappointing right now, but we need to remember that the team has an exciting future beginning in 2021 as the Aston Martin Formula 1 Team and that there will be more good days to come.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
"A difficult evening where things didn’t go our way. Lance’s race was heavily compromised by being held up by Sainz deliberately driving slowly in the pitlane, while Sergio retired on lap 10 with a loss of power. Those developments left us facing an uphill task to retain third place in the Constructors’ Championship and we finished just seven points shy of that goal in the end. It’s been a year of missed opportunities for several reasons – including more than our fair share of bad luck that cost us valuable points. We will take the disappointment tonight in our stride and focus on the positives of an incredibly strong season where we enjoyed some great moments. We have shown that we have a competitive car and team, which will give us a great base to come back even stronger in 2021 under the Aston Martin name. A big ‘thank you’ to everybody in the team for their huge efforts and a fond farewell to Sergio after seven years with the team. We wish him all the best for the future.”
Their season has been hit and miss for the team and sadly the final race was more of the latter than the former. Vettel jumped his team mate at the start in one moment of positivity, and both drivers ran in the top 10 for much of the race after opting not to pit under the Safety Car. But once they did come in, both fell down the order and came home outside of the points. Vettel moves on to pastures new, with one podium from Turkey to show for his efforts in his final season with the Scuderia.
Sebastian Vettel, 14th
"This race is not one I will remember. But what I will remember are the gestures of all the team members, the mechanics, the engineers, the catering guys and so on. I think the energy has been different today and I felt that, and will carry it with me forever. I will miss Charles. Obviously he gave me a headache here and there, and we are at very different stages of our lives and careers. But he’s certainly a good kid and I think he will go a long way, he will be the man of the future. I hope he gets the car he deserves.
"In general, I hope that everyone can have a better season next year. It has been a very tough and tiring one for the obvious reasons. So I hope next year you will see us smile, see us angry and sad, and that it’s not all hidden behind a mask. That’s the main wish I have. I look forward to starting a new journey, but for now I’m happy to be going back home and recharging."
Charles Leclerc, 13th
“Today, we just weren’t quick enough. We struggled to overtake and were not very good in low speed corners. So we tried something different with our strategy to put ourselves in a better position. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. It has been a difficult season for us and it’s a shame to end it like this. All the same, we have made some progress over the past few races, and hopefully we can continue doing so over the winter to come back stronger next year.
"I want to thank Seb for everything he has given to the team. He is an amazing person and a fantastic driver. He pushed me to perform better and to improve. It’s been great to have him on the other side of the garage for the past two years and I wish him all the best for the future. I am also happy that Carlos is joining the team next year. He is very quick, solid, and consistent as a driver. It’s going to be a big challenge for me and I’m already looking forward to it."
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
"Unfortunately, there’s not much to say about today’s race, except that it was a disappointing end to a disappointing season. We have to turn the page and look to the future, taking on board what we have learned during these very difficult recent months. We have to get back on top, working nonstop on next year’s car to make up the performance gap to the best.
"Nevertheless, this was also a special day as it was the last time Sebastian raced in our colours. He is the third most successful driver in Ferrari’s history, with only Michael Schumacher and Niki Lauda winning more races with the Scuderia. You only have to look at the numbers to see the mark Sebastian has left in Maranello during his six years with us. He joined us full of hope and his arrival was eagerly anticipated. He leaves us many happy memories and also a few regrets for what might have been. It’s a shame, but that’s life, for a driver and for a team. One thing is for sure, even if as from next year he will be a rival on track, he will always be part of the Ferrari family."
Both Alfa cars looked feisty in Abu Dhabi, pulling off numerous overtakes. Russell fell victim to Giovinazzi, before the Italian's late pit stop dropped him back, while Raikkonen was fighting with the Ferrari duo for much of the evening. A solid last outing, but in truth it hasn’t been their year. They do at least finish ahead of Ferrari-powered rivals Haas in the standings.
Kimi Raikkonen, 12th
“It was a positive race with good pace, especially compared to the last couple of weeks. We were quite close to the guys in front of us but couldn’t really get any more out of tonight. It has been a good way to close a season that was obviously a bit disappointing in terms of results: we knew after testing we’d have a difficult one, but the team made a good recovery and in the end we made some good steps forward. Hopefully we can continue on this trajectory next year, but first let’s enjoy some time off, back home with our families.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 16th
“It was not the easiest of races, with not much happening after the start. We chose to stay out on mediums when the Safety Car came out, hoping to capitalise on some other neutralisation later, but that never came and this compromised our race. Now a tough season is ending and I think we did all we could. We made good progress in a relatively short time but there’s still much to improve: hopefully we can do more in 2021, so that we can have more fun and fight for the points with a faster car. On the personal side, I am happy with my improvement as a driver, which was my main target for the season, and I want to continue like this next year.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“We finish the season with a positive performance throughout the weekend: we had one car in Q2 yesterday, we were on the pace with some of the cars who finished ahead of us and we crossed the line as the fastest car with a Ferrari engine, keeping Leclerc and Vettel behind us. We got all we could out of tonight’s race and it was a good performance from everyone in the team: it shows what a big improvement we have made compared to where we started the year. It hasn’t been an easy campaign, with so many races in so little time being a big factor on the team personnel’s conditions and making it really hard to work on the development of the car, a process that would normally be spread over nine months. We did make good steps forward, which is testament to all the good work made both in Hinwil and at the track, and hopefully we will be able to carry this momentum into the winter and the new season.”
Haas’ 100th Grand Prix and Magnussen’s last race for the team wasn’t one to remember unfortunately. Understeer made the VF-20 difficult to handle and the two team mates came home at the back of the field. The Dane did pit late for fresh rubber with half a thought at trying to nab fastest lap but couldn’t extract enough pace. He bows out of F1 with his head held high, but spare a thought for Grosjean watching at home, who also leaves the paddock now as Haas look to the future and put their faith in a couple of rookies for next season.
Pietro Fittipaldi, 19th
“I was a lot more confident coming into this race from qualifying – where we had been very competitive. It was a crazy start to the race, but we raced a lot better. We started picking up pace in the beginning, I was able to overtake Kevin (Magnussen) and I was catching Latifi there in the first half of the race. Unfortunately, I think we then had an overheating issue, which required a pit stop to fix ultimately ruining our race. But I was really happy with how we had progressed and with the early pace we had. The team have done a great job with me in such a short space of time, they really helped me get ready. I’ve been very happy for this opportunity and I’m very grateful for it.”
Kevin Magnussen, 18th
“Mixed emotions today. I’m happy to have had the opportunity to have raced in F1, it was my childhood dream. I’m sad to be leaving on such a bad performance. At the end of the day though, we had no expectations coming into this race. Off track it’s been a great weekend for me – I’ve really felt the love of the whole team, the atmosphere’s been good. We’ve really finished off in a really good way behind the scenes. I’ve really enjoyed my time with the team, it’s been a pleasure. I’m sad to be saying goodbye to everyone but I’m looking forward to what’s coming next for me.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“Not how we wanted to end the season and Kevin’s last race. We didn’t have more today. Not only did we not have the pace, we had an issue with Pietro’s engine – so he had to come in and service that, which put him back even more. Now we just look ahead to next year. We will try to do our best to get out of the hole we’re in at the moment. Everybody will put their effort in and I will make sure that they do.”
Russell put it all on the line here but with so few retirements and only one Safety Car, a high finish was always going to be a tough ask. Nonetheless he fought hard and 15th is a good result in what is still a relatively uncompetitive car. Latifi managed to close out his rookie year by beating both Haas cars and will hope to kick on in 2021.
George Russell, 15th
"I’m proud of the season we’ve done here at Williams. The team have worked their socks off to make the most of it, it’s been a massive step forward and we have to be grateful for that. It’s still not where we want to be, but everyone is working really hard to improve the car. It’s been an emotional and intense season on and off the track and everyone now gets some well-earned rest. Today, we made the most of it too. It was an optimised race and we did the best we could, keeping some faster cars behind us."
Nicholas Latifi, 17th
"It was a very difficult Grand Prix, as a team we didn’t have the pace today and we weren’t as competitive as we have been in other races. I was struggling a lot with the balance in the opening stints, but as the race went on it settled down. The last stint was fun putting on a fresh set of medium tyres and pushing flat out to the end. It is a shame as it’s not how we wanted to end this season but coming into this weekend we knew that this track didn’t suit our car. That is my first full season in Formula 1 done and it’s been a big learning year; I can’t wait to get started next year."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"That we have made it to the end of the 17th race of the season is testament to everyone involved in the sport. It has been difficult at times, but overall, it has been a great success and the nature of the year opened the possibility of racing at some new and exciting circuits. The Team have worked incredibly hard and have had to spend a lot of time away from their families, which is never easy. We enjoyed some good races along the way and made some progress with the car, which should pay dividends when we begin testing in Barcelona next year.
"Today we had a decent race and stayed on top of the tricky balancing act of managing tyre and brake temperatures. Both drivers did well and raced hard with Haas and Alfa Romeo. George’s final stint on the Prime tyre was very good and although he wasn’t able to stay with Raikkonen for the whole stint, he did manage the car well and put in a strong performance, keeping Giovinazzi behind and finishing just behind the Ferraris. Nicholas took an extra pit stop in order to cover the two Haas cars, but could also have managed his tyres to the end if his best strategy had required that. His pace was good, and he finished strongly, close to the George-Giovinazzi battle.
"Most of the Team will now stay in Abu Dhabi for a few more days to run the cars on Tuesday. Jack and Roy will be back in for a one-day Young Driver Test. Once that final commitment is fulfilled, we can return home for a well-earned rest. We thank everyone, both here and in Grove, for their total commitment throughout the year and in getting us to every race with two reliable cars. We wish everyone a safe, secure and enjoyable Christmas break and we look forward to doing battle again when we return to racing in the New Year."
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"The race strategy was influenced heavily by the safety car, which prompted nearly everyone to anticipate their planned stops in order to lose less time in the pits. This favoured the hard tyre, which was key to the race. As a result, the drivers had to think about managing their tyres towards the race finish, but in the end the hard compound stood up extremely well to the challenge of 45 laps of running. Nonetheless, the teams generally adopted the strategies that we predicted and we saw all three compounds in action at the start. Congratulations to Max Verstappen for a dominant weekend and to Formula 1 above all for staging a fantastic 17-race calendar under extremely difficult circumstances. Now we remain in Abu Dhabi for a one-day Young Driver test on Tuesday, where we will run the 2020 tyres for the final time."