What the teams said - Race day in Abu Dhabi

Special Contributor

Becky Hart
Teams Sunday Abu Dhabi 2023 v2.jpg

Red Bull

Verstappen was challenged on the opening lap, Leclerc racing him hard but fair. But once he pulled away, he was unstoppable. He only ceded the lead through the first pit stop period, two-stopping on his way to an incredible 19th win of the season. He signed off his record-breaking year with some donuts, another trophy and nothing but smiles. Perez nearly made it two cars on the podium, falling just short thanks to a five-second time penalty he picked up for contact with Norris mid-way through. But plenty of overtakes in a fun race for the Mexican and second in the championship is still a decent way to round out the season.

READ MORE: ‘Emotional’ Verstappen praises Red Bull for ‘incredible season’ after scoring 19th win of the year in Abu Dhabi

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."

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."

Christian Horner, Team Principal

"Well that brings the curtain down on a year that can only be described as incredible. This car is going to go down in the history books as a very, very special car. To have won 21 races out of the 22 is an achievement we never thought possible. What a year, not just for those you see week in and week out at track, but more than anything, all the people behind the scenes back in the factory across the whole business. All the support staff made this happen and played their role in making, delivering, and operating this car. I think everybody can take a huge amount of pride in what they've achieved, because this Team really does have an incredible winning spirit and their determination through it all is incredibly strong.

"Adding to this, Max and Checo. An extraordinary Team in themselves. Their hard work and commitment delivered our first ever Pl and P2 finish. Throughout the season Max has been as close to faultless as you can get, every week bettering his last performance, turning in his best year yet. Checo by comparison has equally had his best year and his best finish in the Championship. It was not an easy road for him but he turned it up when he needed to and secured second place. Finally, I would like to thank our partners and fans, who equally played their part in this historic season. Their commitment to the Team has been steadfast throughout the season and we are incredibly grateful for their support.

"We are going to hopefully take all of these lessons out of this car and apply it into our 20th car. It will be another special year for us in our 20th year as we continue to build to try and defend these two titles. Preparation has already began, we will enjoy the break while we have it but look forward to seeing what's to come in the 2024 season."

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Leclerc nearly got Verstappen into the first corner, sensibly backing out as Verstappen cut across to keep hold of the lead. He then had to fend off Norris and Russell at times, but looked assured of second late on until he deliberately let Perez through in the hopes of allowing the Mexican to pull out five seconds on Russell, which would have been enough for Ferrari to grab second in the championship. But Leclerc was a sportsman, not deliberately holding up Russell and instead leaving it in the hands of the Red Bull. As for Sainz, he started on the hards in contrast to much of the field. But he was hanging on for a late Safety Car which didn’t come. His late stop dropped him out of the points, and he pulled in to retire the car on the last lap.

READ MORE: ‘P2 is all that mattered’ – Leclerc explains late-race tactics with Perez in bid to help Ferrari overhaul Mercedes

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."

Carlos Sainz, 18th

"Not the way we wanted to finish the season, with a very tough double-header on my side in Las Vegas and here in Abu Dhabi. The race today was never going to be easy. The first stint on the Hard was risky and it didn’t go to plan. From there on our race was a bit compromised and we waited for a Safety Car that never came. It hurts badly to miss P2 in the Constructors but there have been plenty of positives throughout the year and we will of course work on the things we could’ve done better.

"I want to thank the entire team, here and back home in Maranello, for their incredible effort all season long and also send a massive thank you to every single fan for their relentless support. We will regroup during the winter and come back stronger next year. Grazie a tutti e Forza Ferrari sempre."

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal

"We are happy to have finished a far from easy season with a solid performance from Charles. Unfortunately, Carlos’ weekend took a turn for the worse starting from Friday and it’s a shame he was unable to bring home the three points but it’s not today that we lost second place in the Constructors’. Clearly, as Ferrari, we’re never that interested in finishing second, but it would still have been a reward for everyone who worked hard at the track and those who always gave it everything they had back in Maranello ever since the SF-23 first rolled out onto the Fiorano track.

"But the whole group can be pleased with how it reacted and fought back in the second part of the season. After the summer break that followed the Dutch Grand Prix, we made constant progress, to the point that we are the only team apart from Red Bull to have won a race. Charles ended the season with a string of strong performances and Carlos also had some very positive races including that Singapore win of course. The curtain comes down on Tuesday after the test and we are already looking ahead to the next one. We are determined to continue with the progress we have demonstrated over the past ten races."

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-23 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Russell finally bagged his second podium of the season, which was enough to seal second overall for Mercedes. It was tight late on though, as Perez got past and tried to pull out five seconds on his rival, Leclerc helping the Red Bull out but in the end Russell did enough. Hamilton also scored for the team, although he had a tougher afternoon after struggling for pace on his initial medium stint. He also had contact with Gasly midway through after he slid into the back of the Alpine under braking as his rival locked up, which cost him a chunk of front wing and plenty of downforce.

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 we’re 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."

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."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"It was a fight for P2 in the Constructor’s Championship up until the very end and so close and today feels like we’ve won. George’s driving was exceptional and Charles showed true sportsman-like behaviour, not trying to slow down. Two great teams and brands that fought until the end. The fight for P2 in the Constructor’s in a way was so positive for us and a huge reward for the whole team to be vice champion, but it’s also a big motivation to do better next year and that’s what we will focus on now. We have so much good things in the pipeline, so much new things and with all the learning we had I am really, really in a good place to see what's coming together. We’ve got to take the momentum now from the third place here, P2 in the championship and then take that into the factories. We’re vice champions and that's a good one to take home - we got to reach for the stars and that's going to happen, I promise."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"Well done to everyone in Brackley and Brixworth for securing P2 in the championship. It's not our ultimate goal but we started this year in a really challenging position with an awful lot of work to do, the team and the drivers have dug in, stuck together and it's some consolation that we have at least come out of it best of the rest. The race was very difficult, we had 58 laps of not knowing which way it was going to go and in the end it was down to the finest of margins. The strategy group did a brilliant job of staying calm, taking some aggressive decisions on the undercuts and making sure that we'd done enough by the chequered flag. We had a one on one pitstop race with McLaren at the first stop and coming out ahead in that was a big part of ending up close enough to Leclerc to score the points needed so that was a really key moment. It's nice to finish the season ahead of Ferrari but we're under no illusion of the gap ahead is large and the whole team is focused on closing down that gap. We will work hard ahead of next season and give it our best to make that happen."

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W14 leads Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Norris had plenty of pace off the line, picking off his team mate and Russell’s Mercedes and harrying Leclerc hard for second. But he couldn’t make his tyres last and in the middle part of the race his pace dropped off. His team mate was struggling with a similar thing, and in the end they wound up comfortably behind the top four but clearly ahead of the rest. Fifth and sixth would have been brilliant performances at the start of the season such were their struggles, but having been so quick of late, it is something of an anticlimax for the papaya team.

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.”

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

“We would have liked to finish on the podium for the final race of the season, but today we simply didn’t have enough pace. This doesn’t detract from this having been an incredible season. It has been an amazing turnaround which was made possible by everybody’s hard work. To finish fourth in the Championship with nine podiums, achieve a victory in the Sprint race, three more podiums in the Sprint race, two pole positions in the Sprint Shootout, and deliver the fastest pit stop in history is a great achievement for the team. All of this was made possible by the work, commitment, effort and the talent of the men and women at McLaren and our colleagues at HPP. I am so proud and so thankful to all team members.

“This is a strong foundation for the future, and we can’t wait to confirm this next season. Thanks to our fans, sponsors and partners that have been so supportive and enthusiastic. We are on this journey together and we look forward to the next phase.”

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Aston Martin

Double points for Aston Martin to finish what has been a very good year for the team. Alonso tried his best to undercut his rivals and spent much of his afternoon battling his fellow Spaniard of Sainz, but he ran out of time to chase down Piastri. He did briefly get investigated for some erratic driving when defending from Hamilton, but the stewards decided that there was nothing to penalise. As for Stroll, he started on the hards and ran a long opening stint, running second at one stage. The race came back to him late on when he bolted on the mediums, and he grabbed the final point on offer.

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."

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.”

Mike Krack, Team Principal

“I am pleased we could end this successful season with both cars inside the points. There were not too many opportunities in a race with no retirements and things pretty much played out in pace order. We did what we could, jumping [Yuki] Tsunoda with Fernando to finish seventh, and Lance made up three places to score the final point. As I reflect on the season, I see only the positives and the huge progress we made compared to last year. We have enjoyed some special days, especially in the early part of the season, and we came back strong in the recent races.

“Full credit to Red Bull Racing and Max [Verstappen] for the high standards and new records they have set. To win 21 races in a season is a remarkable achievement and can only act as motivation for us to close the gap ahead of 2024.

“It has been our best season to date as a team – scoring 280 v 55 last season. I would like to thank everyone trackside and at the AMRTC for all the hard work. Also to our fans and all our partners – without their support we could not have achieved this progress.”

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR23 Mercedes prepares to drive on the grid during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Tsunoda managed to hold onto his top-10 slot off the line, and ran a long first stint to try and one-stop, the team gambling on the unfavoured strategy in the hopes of doing something different. That meant he actually wound up leading the race at one point, which was a fitting sight for his retiring team boss Franz Tost. On old rubber late on, he fell backwards and eighth wasn’t quite enough points to overhaul Williams in the constructors’. Ricciardo picked up a tear off in his brake duct and had to pit early, leaving him out of the rhythm of the rest of the field. He recovered back to P11, less than a second away from the points.

Daniel Ricciardo, 11th

“It wasn’t a bad race. We had a decent pace, but as soon as you get into a little dirty air, it’s hard. Just like today, there have been a couple of races where, if we had one more lap, I feel like we could’ve gotten a few more points, but starting further back put us on the back foot slightly. It's good that Yuki got some points, but we needed a little more, so it would’ve been nice if I could’ve scored some too. Part of me is happy to go on a break to prepare for a full season, but I would also like to continue racing. It’s exciting having a proper off-season and knowing I want to be here. I was happy with the races I’ve done. “Shout out to Franz. He’s been a big part of the team and obviously, very early in my career he played a big role. It was nice to be able to spend his last races together. I wish him well, and I know he’ll be missed by the whole team. Even today, everyone is celebrating him, and all he wanted to do was go racing, so it shows the person he is. I hope he enjoys his time away from the track as much as he enjoyed it racing week after week, with the same amazing passion.”

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.”

Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer

"Heading into the race, the objective was to outscore Williams by 8 points for P7 in the Constructors'. To do this, we needed to finish P6 or higher in the race with one car or P7 and P9 with the two cars. It was a big ask given the starting position of Yuki, because he had three fast cars starting behind him. We knew it would be challenging to achieve the result on pace alone, so we tried to make it work with strategy. Tyres were looking good in the first stint, so we went for the one-stop with Yuki. After a suspected tear-off in the brake duct, we converted Daniel to what was an aggressive two-stop. Both drivers did a fantastic job throughout the race, but in the end, we didn't quite have enough pace to score the required points. Whatever strategy we could've chosen wouldn't have been enough to overtake Williams. I know everyone is relieved it's the end of the season, but for our team, it's fair to say we would've loved one more race! It's been a long season, and in the first races, we were one of the slowest cars on the grid. The credit is due to everyone in Bicester and Faenza for never giving up, pushing hard with the development and turning our competitiveness around, so we end the season with the fifth to sixth quickest car. With Yuki in P1 for a few laps, today marked only the second time in history that a Japanese driver has led a Formula 1 race and only the sixth time Franz has seen one of his cars lead a Grand Prix, which is a nice way to say goodbye. It was Franz's last race leading our team, and speaking on behalf of everyone, it has been an absolute pleasure to work for him. I've never met someone with such a love of the race track and as passionate about racing as Franz, and he will be sorely missed. We wish him all the best for the future."

Franz Tost, Team Principal

"We started with Yuki in the sixth position and with Daniel in P15. Both of them had a good start and didn’t lose any positions on the first lap. We split our cars on the strategy side, opting for a one-stop with Yuki and a two-stop for Daniel. In the end, it was the wrong decision, because I think with a two-stop strategy we could’ve finished P6 or at least P7 with Yuki, as he was faster than other competitors that overtook him in the final laps. Therefore, we ended the season in P8 in the Constructors’ Championship and of course, it’s disappointing because our target was to finish P7. There are still some positives to take on the aerodynamic side, as the new floor worked quite well, which is a good indication for next year’s car.

“As this was my last race, I want to take the opportunity to thank all the Formula 1 fans for their support, the FIA, FOM, all the Formula 1 teams, Honda, Pirelli, and everyone with whom we had good cooperation with over the last 18 years, and obviously my team and all the drivers I was lucky enough to work with. I wish them all a successful future.”

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Alpine’s race was mostly with the Mercedes of Hamilton and with each other. Gasly was ahead on the track via some contact with Hamilton at the start and again midway through, the Mercedes hitting the Frenchman’s rear wing after Gasly locked up under braking. But Ocon was pitted first, and the undercut jumped him ahead of his team mate – which did not impress Gasly one bit. To top it off, his second stop was a slow one and that proved costly. He came home behind his one-stopping team mate Ocon in the end.

Esteban Ocon, 12th

“That’s a wrap on the 2023 season and it was not the best of races from us to finish the year. We simply seemed to lack pace today and, unfortunately, we finished outside of the points in twelfth place. On my side we opted for the one-stop strategy and we fell short of the top ten. We have a lot to review from this race and a lot to analyse from what has been an inconsistent and up and down season. We did not reach the objectives we set ourselves at the beginning of the year and it is time for us to debrief, regroup and focus on key areas of improvement. I have no doubt we will come back stronger and hungrier than ever to improve all together as a team to put ourselves in a better position next year. We have the test on Tuesday and after that it is time to rest before firmly setting our sights on 2024. Thank you to the team and all the fans for their unconditional support this year. I already cannot wait for lights out in Bahrain.”

Pierre Gasly, 13th

“For us, that is not the way we wanted to end the season, where, unfortunately we finished today’s race outside of the points. It was a frustrating afternoon. After a good start, I was hit by Checo [Perez] and then later by Lewis [Hamilton] and we had quite a lot of damage to the rear of the car, which we carried for a lot of the race. I saw the damage afterwards and it’s quite extensive! It was a difficult race from there and we have things to review, lots to learn, as we probably did not optimise everything where scoring some points could have been possible. In terms of the season, I have really enjoyed joining the Alpine family. It has been a mixed season on track, but from where started in Bahrain, we are in a much better place now and that is really positive and encouraging. Thanks to everyone at Enstone, Viry and at the track for their immense work and I’m confident next year we can be so much stronger.”

Bruno Famin, Interim Team Principal

“This is the conclusion of the 2023 season, a year in which we’ve had some very good moments, but also too many low ones. Ultimately, we did not achieve what we had set out. Today was a tough race for both cars and we have much to review to see what we could have done better even if it had no bearing on our championship outcome. I have been pleased with what I have seen in the second part of the season. Right now, as a team, we will take some time over the off-season to reflect and review everything and implement the necessary changes and game plan ahead of 2024. I would like to thank the entire team and the drivers for their hard work, dedication and ambition throughout a challenging campaign and we will undoubtedly come back in 2024 with even more hunger to achieve our goals.”

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Alpine F1 A523 Renault on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Albon had a bad getaway and dropped back, before barging his way past Zhou. He wound up finishing where he started, the track not overly suiting their car and not enough retirees to catapult him forward. Sargeant climbed from P20 to 16th in a solid showing, but it was heart in mouth stuff late on as they watched Tsunoda’s progress. He needed to finish sixth but came home eighth, much to the relief of Williams who scored their best championship finish since 2017.

Alex Albon, 14th

“My race was okay; I don’t think it was the best following a bad start, but we seemed to recover for the second and third stint. Unfortunately, Yuki [Tsunoda] was too fast for us to have any involvement in his race, however, it’s been the hard work across the year that’s allowed us to seal P7 in the Constructors’ Championship.

“Congratulations to the team, including everyone at track and back at the factory. Looking at the progress we’ve made, it’s a great achievement. I’m also very proud of my performance, so I’ll give myself credit for what has been my strongest year in Formula 1.

“The connection I have with the team has allowed us to execute the season well, even when we’ve been fighting race after race to hold our positions. “Looking to next year, we’ve got a challenge ahead of us but I’m already excited for what’s to come.”

Logan Sargeant, 16th

“Firstly, congratulations to the entire team at track and back at Grove for claiming P7 in the Constructors’ Championship. Everyone has worked incredibly hard all year round to earn this achievement. I was unfortunate not to get a position or two off the start. Other than that, we missed a bit of pace.

“Purposely we didn’t optimise strategy to try and hold back Daniel [Ricciardo] as long as we could. I was proud of the defence I put up against him for a few laps to contribute to helping the team today. I enjoyed the end on fresh Hard tyres, coming back through the field doing Quali lap after Quali lap.

“From a personal point of view, it’s been another strong weekend. Obviously yesterday was unfortunate with the track limits but once again I’ve had the pace of what the car was capable of and I’m proud of that. There’s been tough times and good times during my rookie season. This back half of this season I’ve really found some momentum. My race pace has been on a very upward trajectory and Qualifying pace is starting to come together.

“I’m proud of the resilience I’ve had all year, I’ve never given in. I kept pushing and improving and I couldn’t have spent this season with a better group of people.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

“The race was difficult today, especially after Alex suffered a poor start and lost five places immediately. Fortunately, he was able to recover and complete a strong strategy, showing good pace on the Hard compound. Logan followed a similar strategy and was able to fight with Daniel [Ricciardo] before pitting and finishing strong with a series of good overtakes.

“We weren’t able to race directly with AlphaTauri today but given that we haven’t updated the car since mid-season, the fact that we have kept them at bay over the last eight races is testament to us scoring well when the car was competitive, and we continued to compete during the flyaway events even as they brought upgrades to their car.

“It is always difficult to defend a lead and allow yourself to be out developed by rivals, but this was a conscious decision that will reap reward over the coming years. The fact that we were able to hold 7th place in the Constructors’ Championship is down to the continued hard work and attention to detail from the whole team, both at the track and throughout the entire Company back in Grove. “Today itself was not spectacular but as the culmination of a strong season, it marks a clear upturn in our performance and lays the foundations for the coming years.

“We now look forward to the final day of testing on Tuesday. Alex and Logan will share one car with Franco and Zak splitting the day in the other car. The trackside team will then take a well-earned rest before we complete the preparations for the Bahrain test and the launch of FW46.”

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Alexander Albon of Thailand and Williams prepares to drive on the grid prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)


Hulkenberg had a bad start from eighth, dropping straight down and out of the points. Magnussen had to then pit very early indeed after locking up and flat spotting his tyres, so the team were on the back foot from the word go. Magnussen was out of sync and had a very long final stint which didn’t help his chances, while Hulkenberg just ran out of pace to climb back through the field. They wound up propping up the constructors’ championship.

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Nico Hulkenberg, 15th

“The positives for me are how I’ve felt during this season. My hunger to drive, to be competing in Formula 1, be back in the competition, that’s been really fun and good. Even with the difficult Sundays, I’ve been enjoying it and I’m hungry for more, so that’s positive news. Otherwise, today was the story of the season, we just don’t have enough pace. Degradation wasn’t necessarily the problem today, it was just pace, we couldn’t keep up with the faster cars. We’ve put it to bed now and hopefully we’ll have some better tools next year.”

Kevin Magnussen, 20th

“I think the only positive today is that it was the last race. We can close this season now and look forward to next year. It’s not been a good year for us, we haven’t developed at the rate we should’ve, or at all. We started the year in an okay position, but we lost out to the competition in the development race. It’s going to be a big winter for us to catch up, but I believe we can do it.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“It’s been a tough season for us, which started well but didn’t get any better, as everyone else got better. We ended up fighting all season, so now we need to work hard over the winter to get a better car out there as there are a lot of things within this team that are good. We’ve got a race team which is always ready to race, and a team who wants to do well, we just need to get better with the performance of the car – then we will be okay. It’s not an easy task but everyone is rolling their sleeves up and working hard to achieve it.”

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-23 Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Alfa Romeo

Bottas was one of the only drivers in the end to try a one-stop race, starting on the hards and switching to the mediums. But it didn’t work out as his mediums didn’t last the distance, and he fell back through the field late on. Zhou was having a wheel to wheel fight with Albon early on, but once the Williams got ahead, he couldn’t quite keep up. No points left the team ninth overall in the standings.

Valtteri Bottas, 19th

"Unfortunately, we just didn’t have enough pace tonight. We tried two different strategies on the cars, and I went for one stop, but the tyres eventually began to wear off and we just couldn’t make the progress we needed. Ultimately, that has been the story of this season – we never quite had enough raw pace to put up a decent challenge and constantly achieve points finishes. It’s definitely been a long season, for all of us both trackside and back home in Hinwil, and I am glad to be getting some time away from the track now, to reset and recharge.

"I want to thank everyone who has been working hard all this time – the crew here at the track, our home team in Switzerland, and Ferrari – for all they have done. I also want to thank Alfa Romeo for these years, and wish them well for the future: I’m proud to have been part of their history. Now, the focus switches to 2024: the concept of next year’s car, for what I have seen, is interesting, and we will be working hard throughout the winter to come back stronger next season."

Zhou Guanyu, 17th

"Not the best result to end the season, but at least we went out there and tried everything we could. I’m not overly surprised by our pace today, as the feeling of the car and the pace were consistent with yesterday in qualifying: we just didn’t have enough pace in these conditions. It’s the end of a long season and a hard one: we finish with some good memories, like Sunday in Doha or our qualifying in Budapest, but the knowledge we need to do more for 2024. So many people have worked hard to get us racing and deserve our gratitude: the mechanics, technicians and engineers and all here at the track; the boys and girls in Hinwil; and our partners at Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. I want to thank Alfa Romeo for all they’ve done for us, and for the two years I spent with them: it’s such a legendary brand and I wish them well.

"We know next year will be a fresh start: the team back in Hinwil is working hard, our new car will be completely new and I am looking forward to trying it. The margins will still be small, so making a step forward will allow us to battle for much better positions. Now it’s important for all of us to catch a bit of a breather, recover after this long season and come back with fresh energies to tackle next year. For me, now it’s the chance to go back to Shanghai, which I don’t get to do often, and spend some time with my family and my friends: and to prepare to be in the best possible condition for next year."

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

"The most important thing to say today, after such a long and tough season, is to thank Alfa Romeo for six successful seasons together. Of course, we didn’t reach all the targets we had set for ourselves, but today we want to pay tribute to a partner that has been instrumental to the growth of our team, that joined us in 2017 when few would have any trust in our future. Now, if we can look to the future with confidence and with a strong foundation is also thanks to Alfa Romeo and to the people within their company who helped us as a team.

"The first thought is for Sergio Marchionne and, today, for Jean Philippe Imparato and all his team. Tonight’s race reflected our season in full: in the end, the constructors’ championship position corresponds to the pace we were able to show. We need to keep our heads down, knowing we need to work hard and make use of the lessons we learnt to improve. The biggest one is that we need to work as a team each day, having confidence in our people and in our work, but knowing that nobody will give us anything for free. This is important: it’s the end of a season tonight, but the start of a new one tomorrow. In next week’s test, we will need to collect as much data as we can to fix our issues.

"I want to thank all the people working both here and in Hinwil for their hard work this season, and our partners at Ferrari for their support throughout the year: also, even though I never spoke about myself, I want to thank everyone for letting me represent them, hoping I did so in the best possible way – in the good days and in the bad. The race has been very tough. We saw the pace was not enough to compete for the points: it’s how it went, but as we say goodbye to our fans, we want to let them know we will be working really hard to come back stronger."

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Alfa Romeo F1 prepares to drive on the grid prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)


Mario Isola, Motorsport Director

"The race was an accurate reflection of the season as a whole, with Max Verstappen totally dominant, while behind him a close battle raged for every place, with the hierarchy changing, sometimes significantly, from race to race.

"As was generally forecast, the C3 compound was far and away the most popular, while the C5 was only used by Sainz for one lap, which he didn’t even complete, at the very end of the race. The difference between the one-stop and two-stop strategies was very small in our pre-race simulations, but in the end, almost everyone opted for the two-stop, mainly for tactical reasons given that degradation was relatively low. In fact, on a track where the undercut is always very effective, it’s clear that when a driver started the run of pit stops, any other drivers battling with them had to do the same to avoid being passed by anyone exploiting new tyres and a clear track ahead.

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"This was seen not only amongst the leaders, but also in those further back, while a few drivers tried to go for something different, some going for a one-stop (Ocon, Tsunoda and Bottas), some, like Sainz, hoping for a Safety Car, others going for a longer second stint, trying to make the most of the difference in grip levels between new and used tyres in the closing stages, in particular Perez and Stroll. Verstappen, from his position of superiority, reacted to the moves of his closest rivals in the first stint and then waited for them to pit again, before making his second stop in perfect safety.

"Graining was a factor especially for those who spent a lot of time in traffic, but was far less significant for drivers who were able to run in clean air and this applied to both the Medium and Hard."



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Coming Up


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